Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday criticized an indictment targeting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's security detail, saying it was 'biased' and 'purely political'.
In a statement the ministry said that it protests the decision "in the strongest terms," and has conveyed its disapproval to the American ambassador. It also pointed out that the indictment "included the names of people who have never even been to the United States."
Calling the decision "biased, unfounded and purely political," the ministry reiterated that the incident that took place outside the Turkish embassy on May 16, 2017 in Washington was caused by the negligence of U.S. authorities.
A grand jury on Tuesday indicted 19 people, 15 of which were Turkish security officials, in connection with the incident in Washington between protesters and Erdoğan's security personnel.
In a statement, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia said that charges had already been brought against 16 of the defendants, and three more were added to the list on Tuesday.
Two of the 19 defendants are currently in custody and are due to appear in court on September 7.
During Erdoğan's visit to the U.S. back in May, supporters of the PKK terrorist organization, officially recognized as such by the U.S., triggered a melee outside of Turkey's embassy in Washington, D.C. Following the incident, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the failure by U.S. authorities to effectively take precautions was the main cause of the incident.
On May 16, the first fight reportedly broke out at the Turkish embassy when supporters of the terrorist group threw water bottles at Turkish citizens, triggering a 10-to-15 second scuffle in the middle of the road. Only two police officers interceded in the fight and it was clear the police were not ready, as there were only around 10 police officers outside the embassy.
Later, when Erdoğan arrived at the embassy building, protesters continued their grave insults, shouted slogans and threw more bottles. The head of the president's security detail stepped in, followed by Turkish citizens who were there to see their president. Only after security interceded, the protesting group was able to be dispersed.