Pro-Palestinian protesters tried to storm a U.S. air base in southern Turkey on Saturday ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Turkey, a Reuters video shows.
The protests occurred at the Incirlik Air Base in Adana Province, per the video. The protesters, bearing Palestinian and Saudi Arabian national flags and chanting, “Allahu akbar,” threw projectiles ranging from stones to plastic chairs at the riot police behind barricades, forcing the police to respond with tear gas and water cannons, the video showed.
Blinken arrived in Turkey to hold talks with his Turkish counter-part Hakan Fidan concerning the Israel-Hamas war and its various concerns, Russia’s war in Ukraine, NATO unity, and Sweden’s still-pending accession to NATO. He previously visited Tel Aviv, Israel, and Amman, Jordan as part of his “intense diplomacy”. He also made an unannounced visit to Iraq to urge against the spread of the war.
Blinken’s visit to Turkey comes against the backdrop of the country’s recall of its ambassador to Israel over Israel’s refusal to agree to a ceasefire and concerns over the flow of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza. (RELATED: Pro-Palestinian Protesters Swarm Outside White House Chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’)
The U.S. has a military presence in 15 locations across Turkey, all under Turkish sovereignty. Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım, the president of the conservative Muslim aid agency IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, declared support for the protesters who tried to storm the Incirclik Air Base in a video statement on Twitter. “There was a very nice rally here, with speeches,” he said in the video statement. “May Allah save us and all Muslim countries from this [sic] American bases,” he added. He alleged that certain other individuals or groups infiltrated the rally “against our will” and “took different actions,” forcing the rally to a premature end. “Don’t worry, hopefully the echoes of this will be beneficial all around the world.”