Three U.S. Navy sailors were assaulted during a stop in Istanbul by members of a left-leaning Turkish political group.
The sailors, who were in civilian clothes, were from the USS Ross, a guided-missile destroyer that was docked nearby.
In a video of the assault posted on YouTube, protesters shout "Yankee, go home," call the sailors killers, throw red paint at them and push them. The sailor are then held and white sacks are placed on their heads. At the end of the video, the sailors escape.
The protesters hold a Turkish flag and a banner of the Youth Association of Turkey, a left-leaning group. The group shot the video posted online and its website carried an account of the incident.
A statement from the Secretary of the Navy on Facebook called the attack "reprehensible." On Twitter, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey called the attack "appalling"
The Associated Press quoted Capt. Greg Hicks, a spokesman for U.S. European Command, as saying the three sailors were not hurt and were back aboard the ship. He added that shore leave for sailors was canceled for the rest of the day.
The AP adds: "Anti-American sentiment in Turkey is not widespread, but some Turks accuse the United States of meddling in regional affairs."
The news service also reported that Turkish police had arrested 12 people in connection with the incident.