Turkish men arrested over October brawl near embassy


Police on Thursday arrested two Turkish men, one an ethnic Kurd, for allegedly beating two police officers and obstructing their duties during a brawl last October that broke out near the Turkish Embassy in Tokyo.

Demolition laborers Bayav Ercan, a 33-year-old from Aichi Prefecture, and Colak Ali, a 33-year-old ethnic Kurd from Saitama Prefecture, are suspected of striking in the head and throwing stepladders at two Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department officers on Oct. 25 last year, according to police.

While the two have partially admitted to the allegations, saying that they hit people and threw things, they have denied knowingly targeting police officers.

A total of 10 people were hurt in the brawl, including the two police officers.

More than 600 people had gathered from across the country at the Turkish Embassy for the start of voting in the Nov. 1 Turkish general election when fighting broke out between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., police said.

The two suspects were identified by eyewitnesses and security camera footage. The police will continue investigating complaints filed by Kurds claiming that they had been assaulted, and by Turks reporting that their cars had been damaged.

Kurds, a minority in Turkey, face suppression in the country, including restrictions on the use of their language. The Turkish government has resisted moves by Kurds toward independence.