INCIRLIK: Turkish police used tear gas on Sunday to disperse a pro-Palestinian rally held in front of a military base housing US forces, just hours before Washington’s top diplomat arrived in Ankara.
The protest outside Incirlik Air Base in southeastern Turkey was organized by the IHH humanitarian aid fund, which in 2010 directed a flotilla into Gaza that led to Israeli raids that killed 10 civilians.
One AFP The photographer said that the police intervened when the crowd holding a peaceful rally in Incirlik started walking towards the base.
Iran and Turkey call for meeting to prevent Israel-Hamas war from spreading
Images on social media showed hundreds of people waving Palestinian flags in a field, chased by police using water cannons.
No injuries or arrests were reported. US officials had no comment.
The Mediterranean coastal base is owned by Turkey but is used by the US Air Force and sometimes Britain’s Royal Air Force, giving them strategic access to large parts of the Middle East.
The IHH protest coincided with the Ankara visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who arrived in Ankara late Sunday and will meet with Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Monday.
About 1,000 people also marched outside the US embassy in Ankara on Sunday, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.
NATO member Turkey has been subject to weeks of sporadic large protests since Israel entered the war against Hamas last month.
According to the statement of Israeli officials, Israel is trying to crush the person who carried out the deadliest attack in the country’s history on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking 240 people hostage.
Israeli bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip has killed more than 9,770 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Turkey, which has been fighting a Kurdish insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives for decades, initially defended Israel’s right to fight against Hamas.
However, as the war dragged on and civilian deaths increased, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hardened his tone.
Erdogan has repeatedly criticized the United States for supporting the Israeli operation, which he likened to “genocide”.
Last month he held a massive rally in Istanbul attended by 1.5 million people and called Israel an “occupier” behaving like a “war criminal”.
Turkey said on Saturday it had recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations and cut off contacts with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Erdogan holds personally responsible for civilian deaths.
Israel and Turkey were slowly repairing their relations, which had deteriorated following the IHH attempt to break Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip in 2010.
They reappointed their ambassadors last year and were reopening discussions about a U.S.-backed natural gas pipeline that could form the basis of more permanent relations.
Blinken, who made an unannounced visit to the West Bank on Sunday as part of his Middle East trip, will travel to Turkey for the first time since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
But Erdogan will tour Turkey’s remote northeast on Monday, ruling out the possibility of him meeting the US diplomat in person.
The Turkish leader said on Sunday that Ankara was “working behind the scenes” to stop the bloodshed and ensure humanitarian aid was delivered to Gaza.
“It is Turkey’s duty to stop the bloodshed in Gaza,” Erdogan said in a televised statement. said.
Fidan spoke by phone with his Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts on Sunday, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.
news source (www.brecorder.com)