Turkish police tear gas pro-Palestinian protesters at air base

AFP , Sunday 5 Nov 2023

Turkish police fired Sunday tear gas to disperse a pro-Palestinian rally staged outside a military base housing US forces, hours before the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's arrival in Ankara.

Demonstrators hold banners as they take part in a rally against US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Turkey, 5 November, 2023, AFP


The protest outside the Incirlik Air Base in southeastern Turkey was organised by the IHH humanitarian relief fund, which in 2010 led a flotilla to Gaza that sparked Israeli raids in which 10 civilians died.

An AFP photographer said the police intervened when the crowd began to walk toward the base after holding a peaceful rally in Incirlik.

Images on social media showed several hundred people waving Palestinian flags running across a field chased by the police, who also used water cannon.

There were no reports of injuries or arrests. US officials issued no comment.

The Mediterranean coastal base is owned by Turkey but used by the US Air Force and occasionally Britain's Royal Air Force, providing them with strategic access to large parts of the Middle East.

The IHH protest was timed to coincide with a visit to Ankara by the US top diplomat, who was to arrive late Sunday and meet Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Monday.

Nearly 1,000 people also rallied Sunday outside the US embassy in Ankara, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.

NATO member Turkey has been hit by weeks of occasionally vast protests since Israel began its war in the Gaza Strip.

Israel's bombardment of the besieged strip has killed more than 9,500 people, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

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