Watching from the Mercedes

Charges are going to be filed against Erdoğan’s security gang who attacked peaceful protesters the other week.

Lawmakers from both parties on Capitol Hill, as well as a smattering of advocacy groups, have clamored that those responsible for the assault be prosecuted. Last week, the House unanimously passed a resolution condemning the attack and calling for charges against the security forces.

One of those lawmakers, Representative Edward R. Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed news of the charges, urging the State Department on Wednesday to “double down” on its efforts to “bring these individuals to justice.”

In calibrating its response, though, the Trump administration has had to tread carefully, navigating a web of diplomatic and military concerns with a key NATO ally. The episode appears to have already stalled a proposed $1.2 million small-arms sale to Turkish security forces that was moving toward approval by the State Department last month.

Yes well some of our allies are brutal repressive shits.

The run-in was not the first time Mr. Erdogan’s bodyguards have become violent while visiting the United States. In 2011, they took part in a fight at the United Nations that sent at least one security officer to the hospital. And last year, the police and members of Mr. Erdogan’s security team clashed with demonstrators outside the Brookings Institution in Washington.

But the latest case, which played out in broad daylight along Washington’s genteel Embassy Row, has brought a much higher level of attention. Videos that were streamed live from the scene (and later spread across social media) showed armed guards storming a small group of peaceful, anti-Erdogan protesters in plain sight of federal and local law enforcement officers.

A chaotic and bloody scene followed in which the guards, the protesters, pro-Erdogan civilians and American law enforcement tangled on the street and in a nearby park. Nine people were hospitalized, some with serious injuries.

The New York Times, after analyzing videos and photos from the scene, identified at least 24 men, including armed Turkish security forces, who had attacked protesters. Another video shows Mr. Erdogan watching the attack play out from a Mercedes-Benz sedan parked a few yards away. His role in the clash, if any, is unclear.

They returned to Turkey hours later and doubtless won’t be extradited, but at least the charges are on the record.

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