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Video: USS Ross Sailors Assaulted in Turkey

Three U.S. Navy sailors assigned to guided missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG-71) were allegedly assaulted by Turkish youth during liberty in Istanbul on Wednesday, the service confirmed following a release of the video on the Internet.

“The incident, which was recorded on video and posted to the internet, shows approximately 20 individuals, claiming to be from the ‘Turkish Youth Union,’ verbally and physically assaulting the sailors while on liberty in Istanbul,” according to a statement from the Navy.
“The sailors managed to remove themselves from the situation without sustaining injuries and are safely back aboard USS Ross.”

The video of the alleged assault appeared on the Internet earlier today and shows a trio of sailors in civilian clothes surrounded by a group of men and physically restrained with one sailor having a plastic bag briefly over his head.

The crowd waved Turkish flags and chanted, “Yankee, go home.”

The Navy is working with local authorities and the U.S. Embassy to investigate the incident.

“The U.S. Navy will continue to coordinate with Turkish authorities to review security procedures for future ship visits,” read the statement.
“We have enjoyed a strong relationship with Turkey for many years. As NATO allies, we share common interests, and this incident will not diminish that strong relationship. Turkish ports have long been very popular destinations for U.S. Navy ships, and our sailors have enjoyed the warm hospitality that has traditionally been extended.”

Ross has been in and out of the Black Sea as part of the ongoing U.S. and NATO presence mission in the region since the forced annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine by Russia in March.

The following is the full statement from the service released on Nov. 12, 2014.

Navy Statement on Istanbul, Turkey Incident

An incident took place today involving three U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71), which is on a scheduled port visit to Istanbul, Turkey.

The incident, which was recorded on video and posted to the internet, shows approximately 20 individuals, claiming to be from the “Turkish Youth Union,” verbally and physically assaulting the Sailors while on liberty in Istanbul.

The Sailors managed to remove themselves from the situation without sustaining injuries and are safely back aboard USS Ross.

The U.S. Navy is currently working with the Turkish National Police and U.S. Embassy staff to investigate this incident. The U.S. Navy will continue to coordinate with Turkish authorities to review security procedures for future ship visits.

We have enjoyed a strong relationship with Turkey for many years. As NATO allies, we share common interests, and this incident will not diminish that strong relationship. Turkish ports have long been very popular destinations for U.S. Navy ships, and our Sailors have enjoyed the warm hospitality that has traditionally been extended.

Categories: News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute.
He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. In his role he covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Sam is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Military Institute.