by THOMAS O’SCANNELL Section Editor
Three American sailors were attacked during a port call in Istanbul, Turkey by members of a nationalist youth group; 12 participants who were arrested have now been released by Turkish officials.
Tanju Bilgic, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, says, “We condemn this disrespectful act, which is in no way tolerable.”
The sailors, who belonged to an American missile destroyer known as the USS Ross, were subjected to white sacks being forced over their heads, the hurling of red paint, and constant harassment as they desperately tried to escape the nationalists’ wrath. The video, posted to YouTube, made arresting the culprits easier for the Turkish government. The arrest proved to be nothing groundbreaking, as all 12 suspects were released without charges or even an interrogation.
Turkey, as a NATO member, allows the United States to have official vehicles docked on Turkish land from time to time. The sailors were not even in uniform when they were publicly called out by the young, hostile Turks.
The members identify with a Turkish nationalist group known as the Turkish Youth Union or T.G.B. The assault is considered too cold and calculated to be impromptu, raising suspicion that the T.G.B. had been orchestrating an anti-American attack like this for an extended period of time.
“This really is disgusting,” says sophomore Achal Shah. “These sailors were doing nothing wrong and were still attacked.”
The Turkish Youth Nation definitely feels these merciless onslaughts had good reason to take place, even going as far to draft their strategy of attack based on past American trespasses against their nation.
One member began it all, addressing the Americans as murderers and to get out of Turkey. The sailors clearly heard him, but chose to ignore him. Soon, as more T.G.B. members appeared and started overwhelming the Americans, the sailors began to leave.
Before they could do so, the members put white sacks over their heads (they explained that the sacks symbolized the Americans’ arrest of Turkish military personnel during the United States invasion of Iraq, in which American authorities placed white bags over the Turks’ heads). They also threw balloons filled with red paint at them, symbolizing bloodshed supposedly caused by the United States.
Even as the sailors broke apart from the horde, they were chased and threatened with the repeating chant of “Yankee, go home!”
With all 12 suspects walking free, the United States must now consider how safe any American is traveling to other nations who may hold anger toward the US.
The United States’ tension with Turkey started 10 years ago when the US began their invasion of Iraq. The Turks turned down a request from the Americans to use its Incirlik air base to aid their attacks.
In addition, Turkey’s wariness of joining in on the United States’ recent military strikes against the extremist group known as the Islamic State in neighboring nations such as Syria has only increased the uneasiness between the two nations.
Sophomore Sam D’Urso says, “These people ruthlessly attacked these sailors and probably made them worry for their life [sic], yet were released. Both countries’ governments should cooperate with each other to bring justice into this situation.”
As of now, the three sailors remain physically unharmed and, controversially, the T.G.B. walks away from the situation virtually unscathed.
Why might have the Turkish government released the 12 accused T.G.B. members without any form of prosecution?