US Citizens File Suit Against Turkey Over Attack by Erdogan’s Guards in DC

Five U.S. citizens filed a lawsuit in US District Court in DC against the Republic of Turkey after they were beaten by Turkish government security agents in Washington DC last year, according to the Washingtonian.

The plaintiffs ask for $310 million in damages, claiming that Turkey and its agents committed assault, battery, conspiracy, and terrorism. One of the plaintiffs is Lucy Usoyan, who suffered brain damage in the attacks. Some names of plaintiffs are being kept secret by the court.

In May 2017, Turkish security agents, along with Turkish-American citizens attacked a group of people, primarily Kurdish Americans, protesting against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sheridan Circle. The assailants crossed police lines and assaulted the protesters, screaming “Die, Kurds!”, while punching and kicking many of them.

Video of the violent attacks enraged members of the House of Representatives, which approved a resolution 397-0 “for perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future,” the Washingtonian report says.

The lawsuit relies primarily on the Foreign Sovereignties Immunity Act (FSIA), which defines specific violations of U.S. law for which foreign governments can be sued in U.S. courts.

In July, a federal grand jury returned indictments against 19 Turkish men on charges of ranging from aggravated assault to hate crimes. The Justice Department has since dropped charges against all but four. Two men arrested for the attacks pleaded guilty to charges and were sentenced to a year in prison.

According to the Washingtonian, the Turkish embassy declined to comment on the civil suit, and President Erdogan has scoffed at the criminal indictments.