A federal grand jury has indicted 19 Turkish security officials and supporters of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan for their roles in attacking peaceful protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. on May 16.
Fifteen of the defendants are bodyguards and Turkish police officers who work for Erdogan. Four others are private citizens who support the authoritarian leader.
The violence kicked off just after Erdogan arrived at the residence during his first visit to the U.S. following President Trump’s election. A group of Erdogan’s bodyguards launched the attack, and a smaller group of private supporters joined in. The Erdogan supporters punched and kicked the protesters, who numbered between 10 and 20. Nine people were injured in the melee.
One of Erdogan’s bodyguards, first identified by The Daily Caller as Ismail Dalkiran, was seen choking a Kurdish woman and threatening to kill her. Another man, a Turkish-American citizen named Eyup Yildirim, was seen on video kicking another woman and an older Kurdish man. (RELATED: Here’s The Erdogan Henchman Who Choked A Woman Outside Turkish Embassy)
The woman, Lucy Usobyn, was rendered unconscious during the attack. She told TheDC that she suffered a minor head injury during the blitz.
Video recorded of Erdogan during the incident suggests that he may have ordered his bodyguards to launch the strike. Moments before the attack, Erdogan appeared to relay instructions to his closest bodyguard, who then passed commands to bodyguards who sparked the violence.
Sixteen of the 19 defendants were charged in June, but the new indictment adds three Turkish security officials who have been identified as participants in the assault.
All 19 of the defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence with a hate crime enhancement. That felony charge carries a maximum 15 year prison sentence.
Other defendants have been charged with aggravated assault and assault with significant bodily injury.
Despite the indictments, it is unlikely that most of the defendants will face actual jail time. The State Department has barred the Erdogan security officials implicated in the attack from re-entering the U.S.
Yildirim and Sinan Narin, another Turkish-American protester, are the only two attackers who have been arrested. They are due in court on Sept. 7.