Turkey: Protests against US army

By our reporter
2 April 2003

On March 31, groups of villagers showered a passing US convoy with stones, breaking two windows. The 37-vehicle convoy was heading out of Mardin, carrying equipment used to upgrade Turkish bases in the eventuality that US forces might use them.

On March 29, villagers showered US soldiers with eggs and stones when they arrived to recover pieces of a Tomahawk cruise missile that came down in eastern Turkey on March 28.

Scores of people at a hamlet in Sanliurfa province set upon four jeeps carrying some 15 American soldiers and experts, breaking windows and shouting slogans against the US-led war in neighbouring Iraq.

Turkish gendarmes later intervened to break up the demonstration.

According to the governor of Urfa province, on March 28 a Tomahawk cruise missile launched from US Navy ships in the Mediterranean had fallen in the sparsely populated area, gouging a deep hole but without exploding.

It was believed to be the third US missile to land in Turkey since the Iraq war began. Two Tomahawks misfired and landed in Turkey last Sunday, a US defence official said.

Some 90 percent of Turks are against the war and the people of the impoverished east, fearing a further drop in living standards, believe they have much to lose from the conflict.