US Navy Officers Assaulted in Turkey, Should Americans Avoid Visiting

United States Navy
screen capture from video

Three members of the U.S. Navy were assaulted in Istanbul, Turkey and had bags briefly pulled over their heads.

I heard about this horrible story on and wondered if Turkey was now becoming a country where American’s need to watch their back…

It’s never good to hear about American’s being harassed just for being American but what about those that put their life on the line to defend our country? To me that might even be worse. It seems like the three men were attacked due to being members of the military.

The assault was caught on tape and there is a video showing what went down.

The ringleader of the group is shown standing close to the Americans and says “you declare that you are a member of the U.S. Army and now because we define you as murderers, as killers, we want you to get out of our land“.

The men are then pushed, then garbage and paint are thrown at them. They are then surrounded by a group of around 20 people (holding a Turkish flag and a “banner of Turkish founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk“) chanting “Go home Yankee”.

We then see two white bags come out and get pulled over 2 of the Navy officer’s heads briefly. The men then get away and are chased by the anti-American crowd.

According to Fox News,

The sailors were not injured and were safely back aboard the guided missile destroyer the USS Ross… Captain Greg Hicks, spokesman at European Command described the attackers as being part of a “Turkish nationalist group.” A statement from the Navy said the attackers claimed to be from the Turkish Youth Union, which reports said characterized as a leftist, ultra-nationalist group that opposes Turkish membership in NATO. The U.S. Embassy in Ankara condemned the “appalling” attack, which took place in the historic Eminonu neighborhood of Istanbul.”

Fox also explains why anger against America has risen in Turkey in recent months due to US airstrikes supporting the Kurds against ISIS.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington had no comment on the incident. Classy…

After hearing about this, it makes me wonder- should American’s be extra cautious in Turkey or better yet, not go there and spend our hard earned money in a country that might not want us coming there?

Maybe this is an isolated incident and not the sentiments of Turkey as a whole. I’d certainly hope for that to be the case.

However, it would also be nice to hear some encouraging words or some sort of statement other than no comment from the Turkish embassy.

When Kim and I visited Turkey, we did find the people to be very nice and welcoming to us. We didn’t hide that we were American but our visit was also back in 2010. Since then a lot has changed in the world…

What are your thoughts on this incident- isolated situation or is anti-American sentiment growing in Turkey (and around the world for that matter)?

Check out the video:

Find out more about the story from Fox News here.

14 thoughts on “US Navy Officers Assaulted in Turkey, Should Americans Avoid Visiting

  1. Robert- Thanks for your thoughts on the topic.

    Joe D- It sure was crazy to not immediately hear some sort of statement/ apology for the attack from the Turkish gov.

    Juno- Well said! Would like to hear some places that you’d like to visit.

    Kaan- Thanks for the background info. I had never before heard about the Hood Event. I decided to look it up and it took place back in 2003. I highly doubt this attack was revenge for something that took place over 11 years back.

    1. Well, I guess I wasn’t clear enough.

      When the “hood event” happened, it was shocking. People never forgot or got over with it, and there was even a movie created after this event called “Kurlar Vadisi: Irak” (Valley of the wolves: Iraq). Search IMDB and you’ll see it. The description of the movie reads: “The film covers through fiction real-life events like the occupation of Iraq, the execution of Daniel Pearl, the Hood event and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.”

      Also, do you think it’s merely a coincidence that these extremists did the exact same thing to the American soldiers (bag over head) as the American soldiers did to Turkish ones?

      Come on.

      Again, I’m not defending these idiot attackers at all. All I want is to people understand why some people do crazy things like this.

      1. Kaan- I did read an article which mentions the Hood Event as a reason for the bags over the soldiers heads. Thanks for explaining. It also said the bags were for the nations of Palestine and Syria, so the group seems to be one that supports terror and is probably not the voice of Turkey as a whole nation.

  2. So ok, let me clarify a couple of things as a Turkish citizen living in the states.

    Thisnis certainly an isolated event and by no means a change in average Turkish person’s perception of Americans. These extremists took the revenge of what’s called the “Hood Event”, when American soldiers in Baghdad placed bags over the heads of Official Turkish soldiers and interrogated them for 60 hours. Just google “Hood Event” and you’ll see the wikipedia entry. Given that Turkey and the US are allies, this was hugely belittling to Turkey.

    While I certainly condemn these people for what they did, I also wanted to let you know the reason.

  3. I have not yet have been to Turkey but it is not a place that would be on top of my list. Not because of this incident but there are far too many places in this Earth to visit where you don’t have to worry about if an ultranationalist groups are about to erupt with the government doing nothing about it. Yes there are crimes being committed in every country and every city.. U.S. or foreign cities but I don’t want to worry about being a target just because I am American. If Turkey or anyone else wants this American’s tourist dollars they have to bend over backward to make sure we would be safe or this wallet is going elsewhere.

  4. I was shocked by the video, but am more shocked that the Turkish government has not said a thing about it – an attack on their allies. I checked this morning’s copy of Hurriyet (major newspaper in Turkey) and there was a brief story (which called them NATO soldiers, interestingly) but no mention of a government response.

    This is pretty appalling, these are basically street thugs, and if they are can get away with this, they emboldened to try to get away with anything. I applaud the seamen’s restraint in dealing with a disturbing situation the could have gotten completely out of hand (and caused an international incident).

    Like many others here, I have visited Turkey and loved it. People were very friendly, even when they knew we were Americans. It is sad that the Turkish government seems to be willing to let these positive experiences go to waste, if Americans are too scared to visit now.

  5. Turkey is not safe, they have a history of being a friend of America on the OUTSIDE ( to receive aid money etc) and the actions show otherwise — as a tourist you see only the lovely shop window and not the messy back room — spend your money in other places ,like America !

  6. antignos- Lots of places are considered dangerous but I’d go to many of them. The question is whether or not to visit places that might not want us there or be more dangerous only due to being American…

    Rob- I’d like to hear more. I’ve never really experiences any negative attitude towards America while traveling that I can recall besides a drunk Finnish girl badmouthing America (while I was in Paris) many years back!

  7. In my travels abroad, I’ve noticed a distinct difference in the attitudes displayed toward US military personnel and that shown towards tourists.

  8. Of course Turkey is NOT safe, a lot of Detroit and LA are not either. No way would I visit Turkey, mexico, etc. Too many good countries like Japan to visit which are very safe.

  9. Howtofreetravel- I’m not quite convinced yet that Turkey is not safe but it’s not a place I’d be looking to go right now. First of all, we’ve been there and second the country has been changing from what I understand over the past few years.

    Based on the current ISIS problem in the Middle-East, I found it pretty messed up how Turkey resisted helping NATO out… OK, enough on politics…

    Lea- Glad you had a nice trip and I hate to hear about this kind of stuff happening anywhere!

    Danny- Definitely good to hear. Did you like Istanbul?

  10. Was in Istanbul 2 days ago for a 4 day trip and had no issues. Then again we are Asian and people don’t always assume we are from the states. Besides the increasing amount of kids begging and harassing adults for money, we didn’t encounter any issues.

  11. A couple of friends and I were in Turkey in September and everyone was very welcoming. I really enjoyed my time in both Izmir and Istanbul and hate to see this happening.

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