Turkish media are reporting that twelve Turkish nationalists were detained following an attack on U.S. sailors in Istanbul, but were released from custody on Thursday, Reuters reported.
However, they could still face charges for causing insult and injury.
The original report follows.
A group of Turkish ultra-nationalists attacked three U.S. servicemen on Wednesday in Istanbul.
"You declare you are U.S. Army. Now, because we define you as murderers, as killers, we want you to get out of our land," one attacker said in English before the group attacked.
The group — members of the Turkish Youth Union (TGB) — began throwing orange paint at the sailors, holding Turkish flags and chanting "Go home, Yankee." After placing a plastic bag over one sailor's head, the three escaped, only to be chased down the street, with one of the attackers filming throughout.
"The attackers' actions were an apparent reference to an incident in Iraq in July 2003, when U.S. forces detained a Turkish special forces unit, leading its members away for interrogation with hoods over their heads," Reuters noted.
Secular and left-wing, the TGB declares on its website that it is an "anti-imperialist" group that believes "our Republic is destroyed by [collaborators]."
The U.S. Embassy in Turkey tweeted its condemnation of the video.
"While we respect the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression," the account added, "we condemn today's attack in Istanbul, and have no doubt that the vast majority of turks would join us in rejecting an action that so disrespects Turkey's reputation for hospitality."
Reuters also noted a recent Pew Research study that showed only 19% of Turks have a favorable view of the U.S. But as the study noted, "around two-thirds or more Turks express unfavorable views of the European Union, China, Brazil, Russia, Iran and Israel."
Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Hayes Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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