Turkish protesters assault 3 U.S. sailors
ISTANBUL — Anti-American protesters shouting “Yankee, go home!” roughed up three Navy sailors Wednesday in Istanbul near their warship docked on an inlet of the Bosphorus Strait in the Black Sea.
About 10 protesters shouted at them, calling them killers and said they should leave Turkey. Carrying a banner of the Youth Association of Turkey, the demonstrators threw red paint at the sailors and briefly succeeded in putting white sacks over their heads.
The servicemen, who were not in uniform, were from the USS Ross, a guided-missile destroyer docked nearby, according to Capt. Greg Hicks, a spokesman for the U.S. European Command. He said they were not hurt and are safely back aboard the ship. The shore leave for sailors was canceled for the remainder of the day. The incident is being investigated by U.S. authorities.
“Soldiers from the occupying country think they can walk around freely in Eminonu,” association spokesman Melik Dibek said, referring to the neighborhood where the incident occurred. “It's obvious why they've anchored here —because of their ambitions in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. American imperialism is the reason why the Middle East has turned into a chamber of fire.”
A poll by the Pew Research group released at the end of October showed only 19 percent of Turks have a favorable view of the United States.
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara condemned the attack on Twitter and said it has no doubt that most Turks would reject such an action that “so disrespects Turkey's reputation for hospitality.”
Anti-American sentiment in Turkey is not widespread, but some Turks accuse the United States of meddling in regional affairs.
Dogan news agency said Turkish police have detained 12 people, including one woman, in connection with the incident.