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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Pro-Palestinian Protesters Clash with Turkish Police at Air Base Housing US Troops

Turkish police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters attempting to storm an air base housing US troops in Turkey. This incident occurred just hours before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s scheduled visit to Ankara for talks on Gaza.

Turkey has intensified its criticism of Israel as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has deepened, while also supporting a two-state solution and hosting members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict has triggered protests across the country.

Earlier in the week, the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, an Islamist Turkish aid agency, organized a convoy to travel to the Incirlik air base in Turkey’s Adana province. The purpose of the protest was to denounce Israeli attacks on Gaza and US support for Israel. Incirlik air base, in addition to its historical role in supporting the international coalition against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, also houses US troops. The IHH’s protest called for the closure of Incirlik.

Video footage from the protests showed police using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. Demonstrators were seen waving Turkish and Palestinian flags, as well as chanting slogans. They also toppled barricades and engaged in clashes with police wearing riot gear. Some protesters threw plastic chairs, rocks, and other objects at the police, who responded by firing smoke bombs to disperse the crowds. Scuffles broke out between the protesters and security forces.

Bulent Yildirim, the President of the IHH, addressed the crowds in Adana and urged them to refrain from attacking the police. He stated, “Friends, it is wrong to throw rocks or do similar things because both the police and soldiers would want to go to Gaza and fight, and they will go when the time comes. Our rage is huge. We cannot hold it in. But Turkey is doing what it can.” Due to clashes with the police, the IHH ended its rally earlier than initially planned.

This protest occurred just before Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Ankara, where he is expected to hold talks on Gaza with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan. It also follows repeated criticism by Ankara toward Western nations for their support of Israel.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

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