Turkey’s foreign ministry is protesting what it calls the “biased” indictments of 19 of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards and supporters for their roles in an attack on a group of peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.
The Turkish government says it contests the indictments for the May 16 attacks “in the harshest way,” the Associated Press reports.
On Tuesday, the Superior Court in Washington, D.C. handed down grand jury indictments for 15 members of Erdogan’s security detail and four private citizens who attacked a group Kurdish protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington. (RELATED: Erdogan Thugs Indicted For Role In Attack On Peaceful Protesters)
The attacks occurred as Erdogan was visiting the residence after meeting with President Trump. Erdogan was recorded on video overseeing the melee. The footage suggests that he passed commands to his bodyguards to attack the protesters. As the security detail launched the blitz, a group of private citizens who support Erdogan joined in on the assault.
Sixteen people were charged by the Washington, D.C. police department in June, though only two people — two Turkish-Americans who live in New Jersey and Virginia respectively — have been arrested.
The Turkish government has denied that Erdogan’s bodyguards did anything wrong in the attacks, claiming that the State Department and Washington police officers failed to properly protect Erdogan against the protesters, a group of less than 20 people which included woman and elderly people.
“We are protesting in the strongest terms that a biased indictment is accepted. Our reaction to the topic has also been conveyed to the U.S. ambassador to Ankara,” the Turkish foreign ministry statement said said in response to the new indictments, according to Reuters.
The indictments will likely have a significant impact on Erdogan, who will reportedly travel to the U.S. next month to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
One of the new indictees is Mushin Kose, a Turkish security official who is Erdogan’s most senior bodyguard. Kose is the Erdogan hand who appeared to receive commands to launch the attack on the protesters.