Two Turkish-American men who took part in attacks on peaceful protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence earlier this year have pleaded guilty in a Washington, D.C. court.
Eyup Yildirim and Sinan Narin accepted guilty pleas in exchange for dropping hate crime charges for their roles in the attacks, which occurred on May 16.
The pair, who face one-year jail sentences as part of their plea deals, were captured on video along with a group of supporters and bodyguards for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan attacking a small group of Yazidi, Armenian and Kurdish protesters.
Yildirim, the owner of a New Jersey construction company, was seen on video kicking a woman as she laid curled up on the ground. Narin, who lives in Virginia, was also recorded assaulting the protesters.
The attack sparked a diplomatic standoff between the Turkish and American governments. Turkish officials claimed that indictments handed down in the case were politically motivated. They also claimed that U.S. Secret Service and Washington, D.C. police failed to protect Erdogan, who watched the beatings unfold from near the entrance to the ambassador’s residence.
Erdogan may also have directly ordered the attacks. Video showed Erdogan speaking with his personal bodyguard moments before he relayed instructions to the attackers. The protesters — who numbered fewer than two dozen — had gathered at the ambassador’s residence to protest against Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian policies. (RELATED: Audio Analysis: Erdogan Goons Were Instructed To ‘Attack’ Peaceful Protesters)
In addition to Yildirim and Narin, 17 others were indicted for their role in the attacks. Two Turkish-Canadian supporters of Erdogan were indicted along with 15 members of Erdogan’s security detail, including the dictator’s closest bodyguards. (RELATED: Video Shows Erdogan Calmly Watching Bodyguards Attack Protesters)
Aram Hamparian, an Armenian activist who witnessed the brutal assault, blasted Thursday’s plea deal.
“A proposed one year sentence for a brutal, unapologetic foreign government directed assault against Americans on U.S. soil is an absolute travesty,” Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of American, said in a statement on Thursday.
“The Erdogan-ordered attack wasn’t just a violent hate crime against Americans but an open assault on American values. This sentence, if approved by the court, will effectively serve as a green light to Erdogan and other foreign dictators intent on exporting their violence to American shores.”
Hamparian recorded video of the May 16 protest. He also helped two of the people attacked by Erdogan’s henchmen.
One of the women Hamparian helped was Lucy Usoyan, the president of the Ezidi Relief Fund. Usoyan was seen on video being kicked in the back and head by Yildirim. She identified Yildirim to The Daily Caller earlier this year. Usoyan said that she suffered head trauma from the assault. (RELATED: Meet The Erdogan Goon Who Brutally Assaulted A Woman In Washington, D.C.)
When TheDC contacted Yildirim back in May, he denied knowing anything of the attacks. He and Narin were arrested in June by U.S. Marshals. They will be sentenced in Washington, D.C. on March 15.