Washington D.C. police is expected to announce charges for a dozen security guards working for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan due to their involvement in a brutal filmed attack on protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in May. This comes in addition to already issued charges on two American and two Canadians involved in instigating the incident. One of those Americans is Eyup Yildirim, who was caught on video kicking a protester on the ground.
These charges come after weeks of internal anger at Turkey for promoting a fight against free speech on American territory. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning the attack and calling for charges to be filed against these security guards. Representative Edward Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was receptive to the news of these charges being filed, and expressed his hope that the State Department will “bring these individuals to justice”.
While charges are filed, it’s unclear how Turkey will actually be affected by this. It’s unlikely that Turkey would extradite the guards to the United States to face trial, as the guards left hours after the D.C. brawl. The American government did put on hold a $1.2 million arms sale to Turkish security forces recently, although it’s unclear if this incident at the Turkish ambassador’s home was an influence on the decision.
The Turkish Embassy has not commented on the incident aside from their initial statement, which contended that anti-Erdogan protesters were “aggressively provoking” Turks and that some had to act in self defense. This statement went against video footage that later came out showing armed guards storming the small group of protesters, causing nine hospitalizations among the group. The New York Times also determined that Erdogan was watching the fight go down from his Mercedes-Benz sedan.