Turkish nationalists attacked five German soldiers who recently arrived in Turkey to operate two batteries of Patriot surface-to-air missiles as part of Nato mission, officials said Wednesday.
Protesters from the Turkish Youth Union (TGB), a nationalist splinter group, attacked the troops as they shopped in a market in the southern town of Iskenderun, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Sarak from the German military said.
“We think the demonstrators confused the German soldiers with American GIs,” the officer told AFP, stressing that no one was injured.
Germany’s defence ministry confirmed that five troops were attacked in the town, adding they were dressed in civilian clothes and had been “insulted and jostled” by a group of about 40 apparently organised people.
The aggressors had tried to cover the soldiers’ heads in sacks, the ministry added, noting that one troop ended up covered in a white powder.
A Turkish local official told AFP that seven German soldiers had been targeted. According to him, the troops were able to escape into a shop with the help of police and local residents, before being evacuated.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2013.