Pro-Erdoğan Assailants Plead Guilty and Gear Up to Use PKK Claims to Smear Victims

Kate Nahapetian of the ALC: 'This plea agreement is indeed a travesty and we hope the judge will issue a harsher sentence'

WASHINGTON—Earlier today, assailants Sinan Narin of Virginia and Eyüp Yıldırım of New Jersey, who are being represented by attorneys by attorneys Mark Schamel and David Benowitz, partner at Price Benowitz LLP, pleaded guilty to a count of assault with significant bodily injury, after participating in the beating of a group of Kurdish, Armenian, and Yezidi protesters outside of the home of the Turkish Ambassador on May 16.

Scenes from the pro-Erdoğan forces’ May 16 attack on peaceful protesters in Washington, which left several bloody and at least nine requiring medical assistance (Photo: ANCA)

Narin and Yıldırım were only two of the 19 individuals initially indicted to face justice in the U.S.

At the official plea hearing this morning, the prosecution, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sonali Patel, read out loud the facts that the defendants agreed to, including multiple acts of aggression toward police officers, several statements supporting President Tayyip Erdoğan, and, finally, the assaults on Lusik Usoyan, founder of the Ezidi Relief Fund, and Murat Yasa, a local businessman and protest organizer.

Although the defendants faced an indictment for hate crime charges and more than 15 years in jail, almost all the charges were dropped in the plea agreement, which called for only a 1 year and 1 day sentence and a $12,500 fine. Judge Marisa Demeo will be able to increase or decrease that sentence at the official sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for March 15.

According to the Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights (ALC), at today’s pleadings the lawyers for the defense indicated their intention to argue at the sentencing hearing that the protesters’ alleged support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the content of their speech should somehow mitigate the brutal assault, which involved kicking prone victims on the ground in the head, one of whom was rendered unconscious.

They also denied any coordination with Turkish security staff during or after the attack, although both defendants have received political support from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who many believe ordered the attack. The two were personally visited in prison by Turkey’s foreign minister, who very publicly extended “love and greetings” from Turkey even after videotape images were broadcast of the defendants brutally beating Americans in D.C.

The sentencing hearing will finally hear from the victims of the attack themselves.

“This plea agreement is indeed a travesty and we hope the judge will issue a harsher sentence, considering the brutality of the attack on both American bodies and fundamental principles by defendants, who have so far shown no remorse but have signaled preparations to smear the victims instead,” said Kate Nahapetian, executive director of the ALC.

Video of the attack is available below.


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Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. Here we go again with another horrible lack of “American justice” being delivered to the victims of this horrendous crime! As it currently appears, two of the nineteen Turkish terrorists (members of Erdogan’s crew) who participated in the savage beatings of peaceful protesters, will be getting off with a paltry one-year prison sentence. You call that justice?

    Truthfully speaking, I felt quite angry as well as sad at what I observed in the video above, especially the beating that was inflicted upon that helpless lady. This again comes to show what a horribly barbaric culture the Turks come from (in which Turkish guys will gang up on a helpless woman and beat her savagely, just like they did to so many Armenian women during the days of the former Ottoman Turkish Empire.

    And what a horribly shameful job by the D.C. police in protecting this peaceful group of Armenian, Kurdish, and Yezidi protesters from the brutal attacks launched by those Turkish terrorists.

  2. Of course the armenians will never show the first 17 seconds of the VOA video (which they’ve edited out), which clearly shows the “peaceful” protesters were anything but that, in that THEY attacked the real peaceful Turkish group that were merely singing songs (see the UNEDITED version of the video)!!!

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