WASHINGTON, DC — The US has dropped charges against 11 of the 15 bodyguards for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who were indicted after a brawl with protesters outside the country’s embassy in Washington last May, a spokesperson for the US Attorney in DC told CNN on Thursday.
Motions to dismiss the charges against seven of the security officers were filed on February 14 — just one day before President Donald Trump’s now former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Ankara to meet with Erdogan.
The two US citizens who were charged in the indictment, Sinan Narin and Eyup Yildirim, plead guilty to felony assault charges in December and are awaiting sentencing in DC Superior Court on April 5.
Assault charges are still pending against four members of Erdogan’s security detail.
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.
The clash was criticized by Washington, D.C., police and local officials who described it as a violent attack on peaceful demonstrators.
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.