THE CANADIAN PRESS
, Last Updated: 5:02 PM ET
WASHINGTON – Two Canadians are among more than a dozen people sought in connection with a violent attack on protesters during an official visit by Turkey’s president to the U.S. capital last month.
Police in Washington, D.C., say they have issued arrest warrants for Mahmut Sami Ellialti on charges of felony aggravated assault and felony assault with significant bodily injury, as well as for Ahmet Dereci on charges of felony assault with significant bodily injury and misdemeanor assault or threatened assault in a menacing manner.
A police spokeswoman said the two are residents of Canada but it is not yet known whether they have Canadian citizenship.
The pair told the CBC last year that they are staunch supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and had voted to elect him.
“Recep Tayyip Erdogan was chosen by the Turkish people. We voted for him and we want him to be our president,” Dereci told the broadcaster at the time.
The New York Times reported last month that Dereci travelled to Washington with his cousin.
Also sought by U.S. authorities are nine Turkish security agents and three Turkish police officers, who face either misdemeanour or felony assault charges.
In a news conference Thursday, District of Columbia Police Chief Peter Newsham urged those being sought and some still unidentified to surrender and face American justice, adding two Americans were arrested a day earlier in the case.
The brawl, which exacerbated the already strained U.S.-Turkey relations, broke out as Erdogan arrived May 16 at the Turkish ambassador’s residence after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump.
Newsham said video showed security guards and some Erdogan supporters attacking a small group of protesters. Nine people were hurt.
Erdogan’s security detail returned with him to Turkey after his visit, so it was unclear if any would face any immediate U.S. legal repercussions. However, they could end up being threatened with arrest if they return to the U.S. If any are still in the country, they could be expelled if Turkey refuses to waive diplomatic immunity.