Turkish Youth attacking American Sailors
Turkish police arrested 12 people, all of them youngsters for assaulting American sailors on shore leave. The youth pelted them with balloons filled with red paint, covered their heads with white cotton bags and called them killers. Reports also say that the sailors were also attacked with rocks, and that the youth were part of a larger mob. They are members of a nationalist group and call themselves the “Turkish Youth Union” or TGB. They posted a video showing their members attacking the three sailors who had disembarked from the guided missile destroyer, Ross which had docked in Istanbul for some days.
The attacked occurred in broad daylight in the tourist district of Eminonu which is a very popular tourist hangout. Tourists from different parts of the world are usually found in the neighborhood enjoying themselves which the American sailors intended to do. They were quite shocked by this unexpected attack because the Turkish population is like Americans who are also good for business as they spend their dollars in such places. The attackers chanted slogans saying “Yankees go home” and “go America go”. The sailors were not wearing uniforms when they were attacked. The sailors escaped and returned to their ship. This was quite unusual because Turkey is a member of NATO and American ships are regular visitors to Istanbul.
Following the attack, shore leave for all sailors was cancelled. The American Embassy in Ankara called the attack inexcusable because American tourists are a regular sight in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. The Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Tanju Bilgic condemned this mindless act and said such acts will not be tolerated as visitors were guests and according to Turkish traditions, guests are respected as they bring blessings to the household. He also said that such attacks of violence will not be tolerated as it discredits the good name of the Turkish population. He has also called for a joint investigation by American and Turkish authorities to ensure that such incidents are not repeated again.
The Pentagon was also unsettled by this incident which has never happened before because of the good relations between the two countries. Although the Americans did not get any serious injuries, they were quite shaken by the incident as it was totally unexpected in a country like Turkey. The spokesman added that this was just an isolated incident by misguided youngsters and hopes that nothing like this will happen again. On their part the Turkish authorities have issued statements that they will take the strictest actions to prevent a few miscreants from giving Turkey a bad name.