The following video shows an event that took place earlier today at an ATM on a street in Istanbul, where three American servicemen were attacked by young Turkish militants.
The group that claimed responsibility for the attack (and made the video) is the Turkish Youth Union (Türkiye Gençlik Birliği, TGB), described in the wiki as a “left-wing nationalist revolutionary youth organization”, Kemalist in nature. In a European context (or an American one, for that matter), “left-wing nationalist” would be an oxymoron, but apparently not in Turkey.
It’s important to note that the political context for this attack is nationalist, but not Islamic. The TGB is an ideological enemy of the AKP, the governing party of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In Turkey both major political alternatives are nationalist and anti-American — from either the Islamic side, or from the secularist viewpoint of the followers of Kemal Ataturk.
Here’s a Reuters news story that gives more details about the incident:
Turkish nationalists assault U.S. sailors in Istanbul
ISTANBUL (Reuters) — A group of Turkish ultra-nationalists attacked three U.S. sailors on a crowded street in Istanbul on Wednesday, shouting “Yankee go home” and trying to pull hoods over their heads in an assault condemned by the U.S. embassy.
Video footage posted on the website of the ultra-nationalist Turkish Youth Union showed the attackers surrounding the sailors, calling them “murderers” and throwing orange paint at the men.
The attackers’ actions were an apparent reference to an incident in Iraq in July 2003, when U.S. forces detained a Turkish special forces unit, leading its members away for interrogation with hoods over their heads.
“Because we define you as murderers, as killers, we want you to get out of our land,” one of the attackers says in English, before the group chases the soldiers down a street lining the Bosphorus on the edge of Istanbul’s historic peninsula.
The U.S. embassy described the video, apparently filmed by one of the gang, as “appalling” and condemned the attack.
“(We) have no doubt the vast majority of Turks would join us in rejecting an action that so disrespects Turkey’s reputation for hospitality,” it said in a statement on its Twitter account.
Turkey has long been one of Washington’s key allies in the Middle East and is a member of the NATO military alliance, but anti-American sentiment runs deep in parts of society, particularly since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
A poll by the Pew Research group released at the end of October showed only 19 percent of Turks had a favorable view of the United States.
Hat tips: for the video, Vlad Tepes; for the article, LS.