Turkish Youths Attack U.S. Service Member
(18 April 2016) ISTANBUL – Two members of a Turkish nationalist youth group were detained
after trying to put a sack over the head of a U.S. Service Member at an air base in southern
Turkey, according to Turkish media reports.
The state-run Anadolu Agency reported Sunday that two members of the right-wing group,
Yalcin Semir Akarsu and Cenk Kizilirmak, were placed under house arrest after the incident
that occurred Saturday at the Incirlik air base in Adana province.
There was no immediate reaction from U.S. or Turkish officials.
Turkey’s private Dogan news agency says Kizilirmak filmed his friend as he chased the Airmen.
The nationalist Turkish Youth Union posted footage on Twitter in which the man identified by
Dogan as Akarsu is heard as saying, “You put a sack over our soldiers’ heads in 2003. You are
responsible for that and for the terrorism in our country.”
He was referring to an incident in July 2003 in which a group of Turkish special forces operating
in northern Iraq were arrested by U.S. soldiers and led away with hoods over their heads to be
interrogated. They were released after 60 hours in response to protests by top Turkish leaders,
but what became known as “the Hood event” was seen by many Turks as a deliberate insult.
Akarsu also was referring to the recent series of bombings in Turkey since last summer, some
claimed by Kurdish militants and others blamed by the authorities on the ISIS terror group.
“You cannot leave your base, but we can come to your prison and put this sack (on your
head),” he said.
Incirlik is a critical base in the fight by the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, and includes strike
aircraft, drones and refueling planes.
Last month, the State Department and Pentagon ordered the families of U.S. diplomats and
military personnel Tuesday to leave posts in southern Turkey due to “increased threats from
terrorist groups” in the country.