Turkey welcomed the arrest of the suspected ringleader of a Nov. 4 attack on a Turkish restaurant in California by an extremist Armenian group, Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran stated Friday.
“We welcome arrest of the ringleader of the Armenian group that perpetrated a barbarous attack against Istanbul Cafe in Beverly Hills. We are concerned by these acts,” Kıran wrote on Twitter, adding that hate crimes aimed at “poisoning communities can be prevented by tightening judicial and legal measures.”
Kıran’s statement came after Beverly Hills police on Thursday announced that a joint investigation with the FBI and Los Angeles County Probation Department resulted in the arrest of one of the primary suspects, 22-year old Williams Stepanyan, responsible for the hate crime.
“The suspects destroyed property and physically attacked the employees inside the restaurant and later in the alley outside of the restaurant. The victims stated that the suspects made derogatory comments during the incident,” the police stated in a media release.
On Nov. 4, a group of approximately eight people entered Cafe Istanbul, a restaurant serving customers for eight years in Beverly Hills, at about 9 p.m. Soon after, the assailants started throwing tables and chairs around the venue. The attack caused material damage to the restaurant.
Ever since Azerbaijan started a military operation to liberate the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region in September, Armenians have mounted attacks against Turkish citizens abroad.