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FILE PHOTO: A Police officer pushes a man away from protesters, in this still image captured from a video footage, during a violent clash outside the Turkish ambassador's residence between protesters and Turkish security personnel during Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Washington, DC, U.S. on May 16, 2017. Armenian National Committee of America/Handout via REUTERS

(reuters_tickers)

By Ian Simpson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two men who pleaded guilty to assaulting protesters during a 2017 visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Washington were sentenced to a year and a day in jail on Thursday, authorities said.

Sinan Narin, 46, of McLean, Virginia, and Eyup Yildirim, 51, of Manchester, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a street brawl outside the Turkish ambassador's residence that included members of Erdogan's security detail. Narin and Yildirim are both U.S. citizens.

The May 2017 melee was condemned by U.S. and Washington city officials and strained relations between Turkey and the United States.

Narin and Yildirim were sentenced to 12 months and a day in jail, with credit for time served after they were arrested in June, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said in an email.

They also will undergo three years of supervised release once their sentences are completed.

Narin and Yildirim pleaded guilty in December to one count of felony assault for attacking anti-Erdogan protesters during the president's visit.

Yildirim kicked a 61-year-old protester in the head and face, causing the man to suffer a concussion and memory loss, according to the sentencing memorandum, while Narin kicked a woman who had fallen, briefly knocking her out.

Federal prosecutors have dismissed charges against 11 of 15 members of Erdogan's security team who were indicted over the brawl. Assault charges are pending against two Canadian citizens.

Turkey blamed the melee on demonstrators linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party, while Washington's police chief referred to it as a "brutal attack" on peaceful protesters.

Turkey has been waging a war for decades against the banned party, also known as the PKK, in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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Reuters