US issues arrest warrants against Turkish security agents accused of assaulting Kurdish demonstrators

Turkish President Erdogan has condemned the warrants

Kurds hold a demonstration in Italy in February 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

US authorities have issued arrest warrants against 12 Turkish security agents accused of assaulting Kurdish people in Washington.

The security agents were working for Turkish Presdient Recep Tayyip Erdogan and are accused of intervening and assaulting Kurdish people who were holding a peaceful demonstration in Washington on May 16.

The demonstration took place outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador whilst the country's president visited, according to Le Figaro, and nine people were injured.

Before this Erdogan had visited Donald Trump at the White House for a meeting.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the warrants should "send a clear message that the United States does not tolerate individuals who use intimidation and violence to stifle freedom of speech and legitimate political expression."

He also said that the government will continue its work with the police and authorities over the matter and make a decision on whether additional measures should be carried out.

However, Erdogan has condemned the warrants against his security agents and says he will “fight politically and judicially” against them.

Washington police chief Peter Newsham claimed the incident was a brutal attack on peaceful demonstrators and the guards were identified on videos of the protest.

The US ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, was instructed to visit the Turkish ministry of foreign affairs where he was told that the US arrest warrants were unacceptable.

Turkish-American relations have recently been deteriorating as they don't agree on US support of Kurdish militias in Syria, which are considered terrorists by the government in Ankara.