Two men have been arrested over a brawl in Washington between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s security men and protesters, and charges are planned against a dozen security men, police said on Wednesday.
The melee outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence during Erdogan’s visit to the United States last month strained U.S.-Turkish relations. Eleven people were hurt in what Washington’s police chief described as a “brutal attack” on peaceful protesters.
Washington police said in a brief statement that Sinan Narin of Virginia was accused of felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault. The second man, Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey, faces two felony assault charges and a misdemeanour assault charge.
Yildirim 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 Erdogan, 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 Wednesday. It has blamed the violence on demonstrators linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which Turkey and the United States consider a terrorist group.
The State Department has said it had made its concern known to Turkey “in the strongest possible terms.”
The incident took place after Erdogan met U.S. President Donald Trump.