Jersey Shore businessman charged as one of the Turkish goons in DC attack
WASHINGTON — A Jersey Shore resident and business owner has been arrested on charges that he participated in a violent attack on demonstrators outside the Turkish ambassador's residence.
Eyup Yildirim was arrested in New Jersey on charges of assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault. Another man, Sinan Narin, was arrested in Virginia on an aggravated assault charge, the Metropolitan Police Department said.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey confirmed that Yildirim made his first appearance before a judge there on Wednesday.
Narin and Yildirim were both participants in the protests, a U.S. official familiar with the case told The Associated Press.
Yildirim was identified by the New York Times and the Daily Caller last month as one of the goons.
Yildirim is the owner of Care Construction in Manchester. The company did not return a request for comment.
Property records show he owns property at Overlook Court in Manchester, to which his contracting company is registered, and a residential property at New Hampshire Avenue in Toms River.
The clash happened as Erdogan arrived at the ambassador's residence after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump on May 16. The melee was caught on video and led to demands that arrests be made and that Turkey should be held responsible.
The New York Times identified Yildirim in the video as a bald man wearing a white shirt. He can be seen running past police officers and kicking at least two people who had fallen to the ground, including a man who had been kicked in the face.
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One of the victims was East Rutherford resident Ceren Borazan, 26, a Kurdish immigrant.
On the day of the violence, police detained two members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail but released them shortly afterward. Two other men were arrested at the scene — one for aggravated assault and the other for assaulting a police officer.
The U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly to the matter and demanded anonymity, said DC police had identified 34 of 42 people who were involved in the fight, and are seeking their arrests. Police are expected to release photos of the other eight possible suspects and appeal to the public for information on their identities, the official said.
After police officers struggled to protect the protesters and ordered the men in suits to retreat, several of the men dodged the officers and ran into the park to continue the attacks. In all, nine people were hurt.
The fracas added to already strained U.S.-Turkish ties. The NATO allies have publicly clashed over a U.S. decision to arm Syrian Kurdish rebels fighting the Islamic State group in Syria. Turkey considers the fighters to be an extension the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey known as the PKK, and claims without evidence that protesters who showed up during Erdogan's visit to Washington last week were themselves associated with the PKK.
Turkey's U.S. embassy alleged the demonstrators were associated with the PKK, which has waged a three-decade-long insurgency against Turkey and is considered a terrorist group by the United States.
But Mehmet Yuksel, who arrived immediately after the incident and knows almost all of the dozen or so demonstrators, said they weren't connected with the PKK. The victims included Americans, he said at the time, and there was no justification for the attack.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.