Several tens of thousands of people, including a son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gathered on Monday January 1 in Istanbul to denounce the “terrorism of the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and Israel,” and to support the Palestinians from Gaza.

According to the Turkish press agency Anadolu, reported by television stations, “hundreds of thousands” of demonstrators responded to the call of a platform of more than three hundred organizations and associations to come together under the slogan “Mercy to our martyrs, support for Palestine, curse on Israel.”

The compact crowd, armed with Turkish and Palestinian flags, began to converge, before daybreak, towards the Galata Bridge. It stretched along the European side of Istanbul, chanting “Death to Israel, out of Palestine” and “God is great,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) found.

Support for the Palestinian cause

A huge banner in Palestinian colors was hung in the middle of the bridge and images caricatured the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with a mustache similar to that of Hitler were brandished. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week compared the Israeli official to the Nazi leader: “How are you different from Hitler? » he said.

Since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Turkish head of state, traditional supporter of the Palestinian cause, has increased his invectives against Israel. He notably described Israel as a “terrorist” and “genocidal” state due to the shelling of the Palestinian territory of Gaza by the Israeli army in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas, and also denounced state support -United with the Israeli government.

PKK classified as “terrorist organization”

The Turkish army lost twelve soldiers at the end of December in two separate attacks attributed to the PKK in northern Iraq. Bilal Erdogan, the second son of the Turkish head of state, spoke to greet the army “martyrs” who fell in this border country: “Our prayers are our best weapons to emerge from darkness, greetings to our saints martyrs who light our path. » “I have been to the West Bank, to Jerusalem, to Gaza: the people there place their hopes in Turkey and in Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” he assured the crowd.

Presented as a fervent supporter of political Islam, Bilal Erdogan, 42, president of the Foundation for Youth and Education, co-organizer of the rally, is given as a possible successor to his father at the head of the country.

The Turkish army regularly launches military operations against the positions of the PKK in Iraq, classified as a “terrorist organization” by Ankara and its Western allies. In twenty-five years, Turkey has installed several dozen military bases in Iraqi Kurdistan.