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Turkey detains 16 people who stormed Burger King, Starbucks in protest against Israel

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Turkish police detained individuals who attacked Burger King and Starbucks outlets in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır province on Saturday while shouting anti-Israel slogans, according to the interior ministry.

The attacks occurred in the Sur and Kayapınar districts of Diyarbakır, targeting a Starbucks on Mahabad Boulevard and a Burger King in Sur. Some employees and customers were reportedly assaulted during the incidents.

Eyewitnesses claimed police were present and did not intervene to stop the attackers.

The Diyarbakır Bar Association condemned the attacks, saying, “We have seen footage of groups entering private businesses in our city under the guise of protesting Israel, causing fear and panic among those present.”

The bar association called for preventive measures, emphasizing their longstanding support for freedom of expression while denouncing the use of that right to incite fear and violence. “We oppose these and similar actions and urge everyone to act with common sense. We expect authorities to take necessary precautions to prevent violent incidents and their spread.”

Anti-Israel sentiment has been running high in Turkey since Israel began pounding Gaza in retaliation for an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the south of Israel on October 7, 2023, which claimed around 1,200 lives and resulted in the taking of some 250 hostages. The death toll in Gaza, in the meantime, has exceeded 38,000, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

US missions and businesses in Turkey have been the subject of boycotts and protests since Israel began its offensive. American-owned businesses are targeted due to their real or perceived support for Israel.

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