According to the Turkish press, several Turks attacked American sailors shopping in the resort town of Antalya after the USS Abraham Lincoln, on its way back from the Persian Gulf, docked there on a port call:
The attackers, who were reportedly members of the Turkish Youth Association (TGB), at first verbally attacked the American soldiers, who had left an American aircraft carrier moored off of Antalya to shop. Police intervened in the incident and detained the seven men when they tried to put bags over the American soldiers’ heads. A group of TGB members gathered in front of the police station to protest the detention of their friends. The detained men were later released.
The Iranians are already gloating about the attack. Thanks to a decade of Islamist rule and a constant barrage of anti-American incitement from Turkey’s top leaders, Turkey is now among the most anti-American countries on earth.
While Turkey has changed during the past decade, central neighborhoods of Istanbul and Mediterranean resorts have long remained safe; no longer. Americans are not safe in Turkey. The Pentagon should immediately suspend all port calls in Turkey, and should consider requiring non-essential personnel to leave the country. Greece and Croatia are also lovely places, and can accommodate both destroyers and aircraft carriers. More importantly, they would welcome American business and the tourism boon that a port call brings. Turkey is big on demanding apologies; perhaps it is time Prime Minister Erdoğan or Ambassador Namik Tan make one of their own.