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Ministry of Justice Permits Prosecution of Suspects in US Embassy Attack

Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul granted permission for the four suspects involved in the recent shooting attack at the U.S. embassy in Ankara to be prosecuted, the state-run Anadolu agency reported on Sunday.

Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office prepared a summary of proceedings against the four suspects identified as Ahmet Celikten, Osman Gundas, Ersin Bayram and T.B.K., who are accused of firing six shots on the U.S. embassy building in Ankara from inside a white car on August 20, 2018.

The four men will be charged with “committing hostile acts against a foreign state” defined in the 306th article of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

The same article requires the Ministry of Justice to grant permission for prosecution of suspects. Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office requested the ministry’s permission.

The article stipulates up to 12 years in prison for “recruiting soldiers against a foreign country without authorization or engaging in other hostile acts, putting Turkey in danger of war” in its first part.

Following the assault, police captured Celikten and Gundas, who testified about four more suspects taking part in the incident. A total of six suspects were referred to a court, where Celikten, Gundas and Bayram were arrested, while three others, including T.B.K. were released pending trial.

Celikten told the police in his first testimony that he and his friend Gundas decided, while under the influence of alcohol, to shoot at the embassy in response to the U.S.’s recent negative policy against Turkey.

In August, U.S. President Donald Trump increased tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Turkey and introduced sanctions on Turkish Minister of Justice, Gul, and Minister of Interior, Suleyman Soylu. Turkey retaliated with placing additional tariffs on U.S. products such as cars and alcoholic drinks.

Trump’s decisions that majorly contributed to Turkey’s currency crisis came after the dispute between Ankara and Washington about imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson. 

The U.S. demands immediate release of Brunson, while Turkey accuses him of “being a spy” and “being involved in 2016’s failed coup attempt”. The pastor, who was arrested two years ago, was put under house arrest after pressure from the U.S. government.


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