Pro-Palestinian rioters try to storm air base housing U.S. forces in Turkey.
Bulent Yildirim addressed the crowds and encouraged them not to attack the police.
Altercations ensued between the demonstrators and the security forces.
Turkish police utilized tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of individuals who attempted to breach an air base housing U.S. troops on Sunday, during a pro-Palestinian rally.
This incident occurred just hours before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s scheduled arrival in Ankara for discussions regarding Gaza.
Turkey has increased its criticism of Israel as the humanitarian situation in Gaza deteriorates and openly supports a two-state solution while providing refuge to members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Protests have erupted across the country since the Israel-Hamas conflict began.
Earlier in the week, the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, an Islamic Turkish aid organization, organized a convoy to travel to the Incirlik air base in Turkey’s southern Adana province to protest Israeli actions in Gaza and U.S. support for Israel.
Incirlik, which has been used to assist the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, also accommodates U.S. troops. The IHH’s protest called for the closure of Incirlik.
Footage from the protests depicted police employing tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds displaying Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanting slogans. Demonstrators toppled barriers and engaged in confrontations with police wearing riot gear.
Protesters were also observed throwing plastic chairs, rocks, and other objects at the police, who responded by firing smoke bombs into the crowds. Altercations ensued between the demonstrators and the security forces.
Bulent Yildirim, the President of the IHH, addressed the crowds in Adana and encouraged them not to attack the police. He stated, “Friends, it is wrong to throw rocks or engage in similar actions because both the police and soldiers would want to go to Gaza and fight, and they will go when the time comes.”
He added, “Our anger is immense. We cannot contain it, but Turkey is doing what it can.” The IHH concluded its rally earlier than planned due to the clashes with the police.
This rally occurred shortly before Blinken’s expected arrival in Ankara for discussions about Gaza with his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan on Monday, following repeated criticism from Ankara towards Western countries regarding their support for Israel.