Tens of thousands hold anti-Israeli protest in Istanbul

AFP , Monday 1 Jan 2024

Tens of thousands marched in Istanbul Monday to protest "murderer" Israel's war in Gaza and the killing of Turkish soldiers by outlawed Kurdish militants in Iraq.

Turkey protests
Holding a huge Palestinian flag, thousands demonstrate to show solidarity with the Palestinian people amid Israel s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip, at the Galata Bridge in Istanbul on January 1, 2024. AFP


The rally, called by a foundation which counts Bilal Erdogan, the son of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, among its members started after crowds performed morning prayers at Istanbul's iconic mosques, including Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Protesters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags rallied to the Galata Bridge on the Bosphorus chanting: "Murderer Israel, get out of Palestine" and "Allahu Akbar" (God is the greatest).

Tens of thousands of people joined the rally "Mercy for our martyrs and a curse on Israel", the official Anadolu news agency reported.

Erdogan, a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, has lashed out repeatedly at Israel for the scale of death and destruction caused by its relentless bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza.

He has accused Israel of "state terrorism" and said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "no different" from Adolf Hitler.

The nearly three-month war in Gaza has reduced vast areas to a ruined wasteland and killed at least 21,822 people, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The Israeli army says 172 of its soldiers have been killed since the ground invasion of Gaza.

The Turkish army said 12 soldiers were killed in late December in two separate attacks launched by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

Turkey regularly conducts ground and air operations in northern Iraq against the positions of the PKK, listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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