German soldiers attacked during protest against Patriots
Activists who attacked German soldiers were members of the Turkish Youth Union (TGB), linked to the Turkey Workers’ Party. DHA photo
German soldiers stationed as part of NATO’s mission to deploy Patriot air defense systems in the Mediterranean port of İskenderun were attacked by a group of Turkish activists earlier today.
Members of the Turkish Youth Union (TGB), linked to the Workers’ Party (İP), tried to put sacks on the heads of the soldiers when they were off duty and wearing civilian clothes in the district's center.
There have been conflicting reports on the number of soldiers involved in the incident. According to Anatolia news agency, two soldiers were attacked while Doğan news agency reported that six soldiers, including a woman, were targeted.
The soldiers took refuge in a jewelry store after getting into an altercation with the activists. Twenty-six activists, including TGB Chairman İlker Yücel were detained temporarily by the police. The İskendurun Prosecutor's Office said 14 suspects were taken into custody while 28 suspects have been charged with intentionally attempting to cause harm, reports said.
The first delivery of Patriots missile batteries arrived in İskenderun on Jan. 21. The air defense system will be operated by a Dutch military unit comprised of 270 soldiers and 240 German soldiers. The systems will be deployed in Turkey as part of a NATO decision to support Turkey’s air defense against an ostensible missile threat from Syria.