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Military Connection: US Sailors Assaulted in Turkey: By Debbie Gregory

US Sailors AttackedOn 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

Military Connection: US/Turkey Not Done Talking: By Debbie Gregory

US and TurkeyThis week, there have been more than a few media misfires concerning the United States’ relationship with its ally, Turkey, and the agreement to allow the U.S. military to carry out missions over Syria from Turkish air bases.

On Sunday, October 12, 2014, it was reported by several major media outlets that Turkey had agreed to allow the U.S. to use their air bases to stage air strikes over Syria against the Islamic State (IS), also referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Early the next day, Turkish officials were adamant that no deal had been struck, and that talks were still in progress. This announcement prompted several news sources to release stories that hinted of hostilities between the U.S. and Turkey. These stories told of bickering and confusion between the two allies, and even a possible rupture in the alliance. But perhaps it was the news sources that may have been confused.

DOD officials say that Turkey has agreed “in principle” to allowing the U.S. military the use of its air bases, but there are still several details that need to be ironed out before the deal can be finalized. Besides Turkey’s hesitancy to welcome a foreign military into their sovereignty, the Turks have a few other concerns that need to be negotiated.

Turkey has insisted on a no-fly zone over northern Syria, near the Turkey-Syria border, that would facilitate the continued arming and training of moderate rebels to fight against Syria’s Assad regime. The U.S. has resisted this plan despite belief that providing a haven for these rebels could help them fight the IS forces.

Americans reading about the ongoing talks should be aware that Turkey has been a long-time ally to the U.S., as well as a member of NATO. Turkey has been an ongoing partner in the fight against the IS, and has shared intelligence with the U.S. military, as well as participated in a U.S.-led mission to arm and train moderate rebels in Syria. Turkey has granted the U.S. access to a base in Incirlik, to be used as a staging area for surveillance drones.

It is hoped that the tense negotiations will end soon, and the U.S. will be granted a staging area in Turkey to provide better support for our allies that are fighting against the IS on the ground.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: US/Turkey Not Done Talking: By Debbie Gregory