— The Erimtan Angle —

‘American sailors visiting Istanbul were attacked by members of a “neo-nationalist” youth group. The U.S. embassy in Ankara called the attacks “appalling.” Do you think this will affect US-Turkish relations?’.

The Turkish Doğan News Agency reports that a “group of Turkish nationalist students attacked NATO soldiers in the touristic Eminönü district of Istanbul, putting sacks over their heads and throwing dye on them Nov. 12. Members of the nationalist Turkish Youth Union (TGB) followed three NATO soldiers, who were thought to be U.S. citizens, as they exited the USS ROSS, which is currently docked on the coast of the Sarayburnu neighborhood of Eminönü for four days after returning from a NATO exercise in the Black Sea. The TGB members shouted slogans [like] “Yankee Go Home,” “Damn American Imperialism” and threw red dye on the soldiers while also putting sacks over their heads. The alleged U.S. soldiers in civilian clothing escaped by running away”.[1]

The report continues by indicating that the “TGB members were inspired by a 2003 incident when U.S. soldiers staged an operation against Turkish soldiers based in Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq, in which they took 11 Turkish soldiers hostage and put sacks on their heads”.[2]  The Turkish Youth Union is a Kemalist organisation founded on 19 May 2006, comprising 65 student clubs and societies from over 40 Turkish universities. The good people of Wikipedia inform us that the “TGB is an anarcho-communist organization that has strong beliefs in conspiracy theories about the West controlling the AK Party despite the AKP opposing many Western principles and initiatives as well as the continuously deteriorating relations with Western governments at the helm of the AKP leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The TGB has strong xenophobic beliefs such as removal of English classes from schools in Turkey. The TGB alleges [that] it advocates the principles of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk but contrary to pro-Western beliefs of Atatürk, the TGB completely opposes the West. It opposes any future Turkish membership in the European Union and any cooperation with what it calls ‘American imperialism’. It [also] has organized mass protests against the AKP . . . The TGB has opened [so-called] Attila İlhan Cultural Centers [named after a renowned Turkish poet and witer] in several cities to promote its values among young people. Its centers in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Eskisehir and Afyon are to be followed by new ones in Bursa, Diyarbakır, Eskisehir, Sivas, Muğla, Mersin, Trabzon, Erzurum, Hatay and Denizli”.[3]

“Attilâ İlhan (1925-2005) was a Kemalist and socialist. In his later life he appeared on television programs where he discussed literary and social issues. Although he was a devoted communist, he never espoused Stalinism and he always took a nationalistic point of view within communism. He was also an intellectual figure in Turkey where his ideas influenced the public. In his series of books entitled Hangi …, he questioned the imitative intellectualism which dominated the cultural and political life of Turkey”, as related by good people of Wikipedia.[4]

[1] “US soldiers attacked with dye in Istanbul by nationalist youth group” Hürriyet Daily News (13 November 2014). http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-soldiers-attacked-with-dye-in-istanbul-by-nationalist-youth-group.aspx?pageID=238&nID=74244&NewsCatID=341.

[2] “US soldiers attacked with dye in Istanbul by nationalist youth group”.

[3] “Turkey Youth Union” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey_Youth_Union.

[4] “Attilâ İlhan” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attil%C3%A2_%C4%B0lhan.

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