On March 18, 2019, the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia decided the individual Defendants’—Eyup Yildirim, Sinan Narin, and Alpkenan Dereci – motion to dismiss permitting, Plaintiffs hate crime, assault, battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims to go forward.  The case also includes Alien Tort Statute claims against the Government of Turkey.

On February 11, 2019, the Republic of Turkey accepted service and is scheduled to respond on May 13, 2019. Two individual defendants have fled and have yet to be served.

Case Background

On May 10, 2018, on behalf of fifteen victims of the vicious May 16, 2017 attack against peaceful protestors outside of the Turkish Chief of Mission Residence in Washington D.C., Cohen Milstein, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, and Michael Tigar, professor emeritus at American University, filed a civil lawsuit against the Republic of Turkey and the civilian supporters who participated in the attack. 

On May 16, 2017, peaceful demonstrators – including parents with young children and local business owners – stood in Sheridan Circle, on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., across the street from the Turkish Chief of Mission’s residence. The demonstrators were peacefully expressing opposition to human rights abuses by Defendant Republic of Turkey against the Kurds, an ethnic minority facing persecution in that country. Suddenly, Turkish security officials pushed past U.S. law enforcement officers to attack and silence the demonstrators, repeatedly punching and kicking defenseless people. One woman was beaten so severely she lost consciousness and had a seizure. Plaintiffs seek to hold Turkey accountable for this outrageous violation of United States, District of Colombia, and international law.

The attack was captured on video and widely covered by the New York Times, The Washington Post, and other national and international news and media outlets.

Counts of this lawsuit include assault, battery, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, hate crime pursuant to D.C. Code §22-3704, violation of enforcement jurisdiction under the Alien Tort Statute, violation of civil rights, among others.

The case is styled: Kasim Kurd, et al. v. The Republic of Turkey, Case No. 1:18-cv-01117-CKK,  U.S. District Court, District of Columbia