The group assaulted the three sailors on a crowded street in
Istanbul on Wednesday, shouting "Yankee go home", throwing paint
and trying to pull hoods over their heads, in an assault
condemned by the United States.
The group, members of the nationalist Turkish Youth Union (TGB),
were told they faced possible charges of insult, injury and
breaching laws on public protests in an Istanbul court before
being released by the prosecutor, the Dogan News Agency (DHA)
The U.S. Embassy described video footage of the attack, posted
on the TGB's website, as appalling. The Pentagon said shore
leave had been canceled for other servicemen from the U.S. Navy
guided-missile destroyer, the USS Ross, which was expected to
leave Istanbul on Thursday.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also condemned the attack, branding
it disrespectful and "impossible to view with tolerance".
The assault appears to have been inspired by an incident in Iraq
in 2003, when U.S. forces detained a Turkish special forces
unit, leading its members away for interrogation with hoods over
Turkey is a key NATO ally in the Middle East but anti-American
sentiment runs high. A recent poll showed only 19 percent of
Turks have a favorable view of the United States.
(Reporting by Ayse Sarioglu and Ayla Jean Yackley; Writing by
Jonny Hogg; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Ralph Boulton)
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