Reporting from Incirlik, Adana, Türkiye
This Saturday, Ankara announced to withdraw its ambassador to Israel, criticizing that Tel Aviv does not accept an immediate truce to end the attacks against Palestine. The response came from the United States, with Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who included Türkiye at the last minute in his travel plan through Western Asia. Upon arriving in Türkiye, Blinken had to face news of a protest march against the US military air base.
The Incirlik Air Military Base is located in the south of Türkiye, near the city of Adana. The Humanitarian Aid Foundation, IHH, has called for a protest in front of it for November 5. Its president, Bülent Yıldırım said at a press conference that the protest is directed against all the 800 US bases as part of a ‘global intifada’ against Zionism. Ann Wright, retired US Army colonel, retired diplomat, explains that the base has a special role for Israel.
“It is important to protest against this base, because the United States transports weapons, missiles and ammunition to Israel through here. It is a transfer point for the United States, and that is why it is very important that the population of Türkiye here and today says “no to weapons for Israel.”
Convoys from all over the country set off to participate in the demonstration. Around 30 thousand people gathered outside the base. While protesters called Israel a murderer and the United States an accomplice, some 2,000 people outside the demonstration tried to force their way into the base. The police repressed these attempts using tear gas and water cannon.
Osman Atalay, member of the executive committee of the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH), commented:
“We gather here to call global attention to the massacres in Gaza. A group within the demonstration unfortunately could not control their emotions and wanted to enter this American base. After weeks of photos and videos coming out of Gaza, his behavior is understandable to a certain extent, being so close to the forces allied with Israel.”
The confrontation between protesters and the polices lasted hours. The organizers of the demonstration called to respect the police and remain peaceful, and when they could not convince the groups, they ended the demonstration. Upon leaving the area, we asked the protesters if they thought that Secretary of State Blinken received the message.
Mohammed Karaabat, a salesman taking part at the meeting, commented:
“The message has arrived. Blinken felt it deep inside here. America is finished, it is dead. Israel is finished. Their era has come to an end.”