U.S. drops charges against 11 of Erdoğan’s bodyguards

U.S. prosecutors have dropped charges against 11 of the 15 members of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security team who were accused of beating peaceful protesters in Washington last year, the Wall Street Journal said.

The decision was made a day before then U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Turkey on February 15, it said.

The charges against 15 of Erdoğan’s security team were among a range of issues causing tensions Turkey and the United States. Charges against four of the bodyguards were dismissed in November on the grounds that they were not present during the clashes in May 2017. After charges against another four were dropped in February, only four of the bodyguards are still charged.

The move is perceived by many as an effort to improve relations between the two countries, but U.S. officials denied that charges were dropped for political reasons and said the decisions were made because some suspects were misidentified and there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute others.