2 Turkish-Americans Sentenced for Brawl During Erdogan’s US Visit

A District of Columbia judge on Thursday sentenced two Turkish-Americans to one year and one day in prison after they pleaded guilty of assaulting pro-Kurdish demonstrators during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington last year.

Sinan Narin, 46, of Virginia and Eyup Yildirim, 51, of New Jersey each pleaded guilty in December to one count of assault with significant bodily injury in connection with the May 2017 clashes with protesters near the Turkish ambassador’s residence.

Judge Marisa Demeo of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia accepted their plea agreements and imposed the previously agreed upon sentence on each.

The two have been in jail since their arrest last June and will receive credit for time already served, the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia said.

The street brawl that led to the pair’s arrest started after a small group of Kurdish demonstrators gathered near the Turkish ambassador’s residence to protest Erdogan’s arrival, only to be confronted by the president’s supporters, security guards and other members of his delegation.

WATCH: Demonstration at Turkish Embassy in DC Turns Violent

Video of the confrontation recorded by a VOA journalist showed what appeared to be Erdogan’s security guards pushing, shoving and kicking the protesters, some of whom were carrying Kurdish flags.

A grand jury last August indicted 19 people — 15 members of Erdogan’s security detail, the two Turkish-Americans and two Turkish-Canadians — on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

But U.S. prosecutors later dropped charges against 11 of the guards for what a government official described as “evidentiary reasons.”

Criminal charges against the other four bodyguards remain pending, as do ones against the two Canadian citizens of Turkish ancestry.

The Turkish-Canadians have not been arrested, and it remains unclear whether they’ll be extradited to the U.S. to stand trial.