ISTANBUL (CBSDC/AP) — Anti-American protesters shouting “Yankee, go home!” roughed up three U.S. sailors in Istanbul near where a U.S. warship was docked on an inlet of the Bosphorus Strait in the Black Sea.
As many as 10 protesters shouted at them, calling them killers and said they should leave Turkey. The protesters, who carried a banner of the Youth Association of Turkey, threw red paint at them and briefly succeeded in putting white sacks over their heads.
A spokesman for the Youth Association, Melik Dibek, said the Americans confirmed they were U.S. servicemen.
A U.S. European Command spokesman says the sailors were not hurt.
“U.S. Navy officials are working with the embassy and NCIS to investigate the incident. The three sailors were unharmed and are safely back. They did not require medical attention,” Capt. Greg Hicks told CNN.
Hicks added: “The incident does not reflect the hospitality nor the welcome reception our ships receive in port in Turkey.”
A video of the incident shot by the group and posted online showed the protesters chasing after them, shouting “Yankee, go home!”
CNN reports the incident did not appeared to be tied to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The U.S. Embassy in Turkey condemned the attack.
“The video showing an assault on three visiting American sailors is appalling,” the embassy said on Twitter. “While we respect the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression, we condemn today’s attack in Istanbul, and have no doubt the vast majority of Turks would join us in rejecting an action that so disrespects Turkey’s reputation for hospitality.”
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