On Wednesday, November 12, 2014, three U.S. Sailors were attacked in Istanbul, Turkey. The trio were on liberty from the USS Ross (DDG-71). A Youtube video of the attack shows the assault on the unsuspecting service members.
A group of fifteen to twenty young adult males approach the sailors and made the following declaration:
“You declare that you are members of the U.S. Army. And now, because we define you as murderers, as killers, we want you to get out of our land.”
After the speech, the group started throwing unknown objects at the sailors. Members of the mob kept chanting “Yankees go home.” This escalated into members of the group shoving and then trying to forcibly restrain the sailors so that they could put plastic bags over their heads.
The sailors did not fight back and were not seen to yell any retorts to the mob. They escaped as soon as they were able to.
An anti-government, anti-American, far-left revolutionary group called the Youth Union of Turkey claimed responsibility for the attack. While the incident was arguably not intended to kill or seriously harm the sailors, it is obvious that the demonstration was clearly planned. The speaker for the mob had a practiced speech, and he seemed determined to stick to it. Members of the mob came prepared with banners, projectiles, and the plastic bags to place over the sailors’ heads. But clearly, based on sheer numbers, the protestors could have seriously harmed one or more of the sailors very easily, had they wanted to.
The Turkish government has publicly condemned the demonstration. However, it was reported that twelve members of the mob had been detained by Turkish police and let go without any charges. The video clearly shows that several members of the mob assaulted the sailors with projectiles, and also laid hands on them. It is a shame that our NATO ally allowed this treatment of our service members to happen without even a slap on the wrist.
However, this is not the first time. In 2013, members of the Youth Union of Turkey confronted a group of German soldiers and attempted to put bags over their heads.
Tensions between U.S. and Turkey have been stewing due to negotiations to allow the U.S. military to carry out airstrikes from air bases in Turkey, which borders both Iraq and Syria.
So far, it is not clear what effect, if any, this attack against American sailors will have on U.S./Turkish relations.
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Military Connection: US Sailors Assaulted in Turkey: By Debbie Gregory