Charges have been dropped against most Turkish officers in D.C. clash
Charges have been dropped against 11 members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail that were accused of beating protesters in Washington, D.C., The Hill reported. reported.
Federal prosecutors made the decision to drop the charges against 11 of out the 15 security members in connection with the incident.
Police originally announced charges against 16 people in connection with the violent clashes in June.
The scuffle took place last May after roughly two dozen protesters gathered outside of the Turkish Embassy to protest Erdogan’s policies during his visit to Washington.
Nine people were taken to local hospitals following the incident. The Turkish Embassy said that Erdogan’s bodyguards were acting in “self-defense” during the incident and accused the protesters of being affiliated with the terrorist group PKK.
A protest leader denied that anyone involved had any ties or sympathies to the PKK.
The clash was criticized by Washington, D.C., police and local officials who described it as a violent attack on peaceful demonstrators.
The incident came as U.S. officials were attempting to improve fragile relations with Turkey, which is a key NATO ally and a partner in the fight against ISIS.
Prosecutors in November requested a judge to drop the charges against four members of Erdogan’s security team, and the charges against seven others were dropped in February before now-outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson flew to Turkey to meet with Erdogan.
U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal that the prosecutors were not pressured to drop the charges saying that investigators had misidentified some suspects and did not have enough evidence against others.