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AMERICAS >Two detained over brawl during Erdoğan’s US visit: Police

WASHINGTON - Reuters

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Two men have been detained over a brawl in Washington between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security personnel and protesters, with charges planned against a dozen guards, police and a media report said June 14.

The melee outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence during Erdoğan’s visit to the United States in May strained U.S.-Turkish relations. Eleven people were hurt in what Washington’s police chief described as a “brutal attack” on peaceful protesters.

Sinan Narin of Virginia was accused of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor assault, said Washington police in a brief statement. The second man, Eyüp Yıldırım of New Jersey, faces two assault charges for felony and a charge for misdemeanor.

Yıldırım is in custody after an initial appearance before a federal magistrate in Newark, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey said by phone.

The police statement did not say if the men were supporters of Erdoğan, part of his security detail or protesters.

Two people, at least one of them a protester, had previously been charged. A video posted online showed men in dark suits chasing anti-government protesters and punching and kicking them as police struggled to intervene.

The Turkish Embassy did not respond to a request for comment on June 14. It has blamed the violence on demonstrators linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which Turkey and the U.S. consider a terrorist group.

The New York Times reported that law enforcement officials planned to announce charges on June 15 against a dozen members of the president’s security detail.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham are scheduled to hold a news conference at 11:45 a.m. on June 15 to provide an update on the incident. The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment.

In a statement, the State Department said it was committed to holding those responsible for the violence accountable.

“Any further steps will be responsive and proportional to the charges,” it said.

The fracas in the streets of the U.S. capital brought condemnation from members of the U.S. Congress and city officials. The State Department has said it had made its concern known to Turkey “in the strongest possible terms.”

The incident took place after Erdoğan met U.S. President Donald Trump.

June/15/2017

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