A pro-Palestinian mob tries to storm a base with US troops in Türkiye
Turkish police used tear gas and water cannon when hundreds of people in a pro-Palestinian demonstration tried to storm an air base hosting U.S. troops on Sunday, hours before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ankara to maintain talks about Gaza.
Turkey, which has stepped up its criticism of Israel as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has worsened, supports a two-state solution while hosting members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Since the war between Israel and Hamas began, protests have broken out across the country.
Protest organized by the IHH Humanitarian Aid Foundation
Earlier this week, the IHH Humanitarian Aid Foundation, a Turkish Islamist aid agency, organized a convoy to travel to Incirlik air base in Adana province in southern Turkey to protest Israeli attacks on Gaza and US support for Israel.
Incirlik, which has been used to support the international coalition fighting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, also hosts US troops. The IHH protest called for the closure of Incirlik.
Footage from the protests showed police firing tear gas and using water cannons to disperse crowds waving Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanting slogans. Protesters tore down barricades and clashed with riot police.
Protesters were also seen throwing plastic chairs, rocks and other items at police, who fired smoke bombs into the crowd. Clashes broke out between the crowd and security forces.
IHH President Bulent Yildirim addressed the crowd in Adana and urged them to refrain from attacking the police. "Friends, it is wrong to throw stones or do similar things because both the police and the soldiers would want to go to Gaza and fight and they will do so when the time comes," he said. "Our anger is enormous. We cannot contain it. But Turkey is doing what it can," he added. IHH ended its demonstration earlier than planned due to clashes with police.
The rally came hours before Blinken is expected to arrive in Ankara for talks on Gaza with his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan on Monday, and after Ankara's repeated criticism of the West over its support for Israel.
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