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.
But why did they target out-of-uniform military personnel? Apparently it was some sort of reprisal:
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.
Watch the unsettling video below:
This is disgraceful. Hence why the US embassy in Turkey has already repudiated the attacks:
(1/4)The video showing an assault on three visiting American sailors is appalling.— US Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) November 12, 2014
(2/4)While we respect the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression,— US Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) November 12, 2014
(3/4) we condemn today’s attack in Istanbul, and have no doubt…— US Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) November 12, 2014
(4/4)… the vast majority of Turks would join us in rejecting an action that so disrespects Turkey’s reputation for hospitality.— US Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) November 12, 2014
Thankfully, no American service members were harmed. Turkish police, meanwhile, have brought in 12 suspects for questioning.