US soldiers attacked with dye in Istanbul by nationalist youth group

US soldiers attacked with dye in Istanbul by nationalist youth group

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
US soldiers attacked with dye in Istanbul by nationalist youth group

The TGB members put sacks on the heads of three US soldiers. DHA Photo

A group of Turkish nationalist students attacked NATO soldiers in the touristic Eminönü district of Istanbul, putting sacks over their heads and throwing dye on them Nov. 12.   

Members of the nationalist Turkish Youth Union (TGB) followed three NATO soldiers, who were thought to be U.S. citizens, as they exited the USS ROSS, which is currently docked on the coast of the Sarayburnu neighborhood of Eminönü for four days after returning from a NATO exercise in the Black Sea.

The TGB members shouted slogans “Yankee Go Home,” “Damn American Imperialism” and threw red dye on the soldiers while also putting sacks over their heads. The alleged U.S. soldiers in civilian clothing escaped by running away.

“You declared that you are a member of the U.S. army. We define you as murderers. We want you to leave our land,” a man is heard shouting at the soldier in the video released by the group.

“We are using our right to protest you,” the protester also shouted.

The TGB members were inspired by a 2003 incident when U.S. soldiers staged an operation against Turkish soldiers based in Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq, in which they took 11 Turkish soldiers hostage and put sacks on their heads.

Embassy condemns 'appalling' attack

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara condemned the attack in a statement released via its Twitter account yesterday after the incident.

“The video showing an assault on three visiting American sailors is appalling. While we respect the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression, we condemn today’s attack in Istanbul, and have no doubt the vast majority of Turks would join us in rejecting an action that so disrespects Turkey’s reputation for hospitality” said the statement.

Turkey: ‘Intolerable, disrespectful act’

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has also joined condemnation of the assault against U.S. sailors, describing the attack as an “intolerable disrespectful act.”

“Press reports indicate that some U.S. officials visiting Istanbul were assaulted today [Nov.12], under the guise of a peaceful protest,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement released late on Nov. 12.

“We condemn this disrespectful act, which is in no way tolerable,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said in the statement. 

The spokesperson’s statement came in the form of an official response to a journalist’s question.