ANCA’s Hamparian: ‘Two Arrests Are a Good Start, but this is About Far More Than Crime Enforcement. It’s About Our U.S. Government Standing Up Against Foreign Attempts to Silence Dissent by American Citizens’
WASHINGTON (A.W.)— United States Marshals have arrested two Turkish men living in the U.S., for their role in beating peaceful protesters outside of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. on May 16, according to a report by The Daily Caller.
The source who provided the Daily Caller this information did not provide the names of the men arrested for their role in the attack. However, the Washington-based Turkish news outlet Washington Hatti reported that one man involved in the attack was detained in New Jersey.
According to the report, Eyup Yıldırım was arrested on the morning of on June 14.
The U.S. Marshal Service referred The Daily Caller to the Washington, D.C. Metro police department, which is currently investigating the case along with the State Department and Secret Service. The department did not respond to a request for comment about the arrests, according to The Daily Caller.
Yıldırım was identified as the man in the videos kicking a female protester Lucy Usoyan, while she was on the ground. Usoyan, a Kurdish activist, was kicked and stomped by Yıldırım and other Erdogan supporters. She was rushed to the hospital following the incident, where she was diagnosed with a head trauma.
“We remain deeply troubled—nearly a month after this unprovoked assault by a foreign government on peaceful U.S. protesters—over the lack of criminal charges against Erdogan’s security detail and the failure of the Trump Administration to demand that Ankara waive its claims to immunity for all those involved in this assault on our American freedoms,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian in a brief statement.
“These two arrests are a good start, but this is about far more than crime enforcement. It’s about our U.S. government standing up against foreign attempts to silence dissent by American citizens. In light of the major media attention devoted to this outrage and given the intense Congressional concern about its consequences – it is unacceptable that the White House and State Department have demonstrated such weakness, adopting, basically, a business-as-usual approach in the face of a brazen, angry, and arrogant foreign attack on peaceful protesters on American soil,’ Hamparian added.
Yıldırım, who is reported to be the owner of a construction company, was part of a group of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who showed up at the Turkish Embassy and attacked the peaceful demonstrators across the street. The attackers, including men from Erdogan’s security detail who were armed, were seen punching, kicking, and stomping on the protesters.
At least 11 people were injured while Erdogan watched the attack take place from his chauffeured vehicle, which was parked outside the embassy. Video recordings show that he may have ordered his bodyguards to initiate the assault.
The incident generated outrage from lawmakers both from the Republican and Democratic parties, while the Turkish government blamed the U.S. government and the Washington, D.C. police. Last week, the House unanimously passed a bill condemning the Turkish government over the incident.
Despite the arrest of Yıldırım and second individual, it will be difficult to arrest and punish some of the men from Erdogan’s security detail, who are likely protected by diplomatic immunity.
Certain lawmakers have already called for the removal of the Turkish Ambassador and have called on the State Department to halt a planned sale of $1.6 million worth of firearms to Turkey.