Protest Blocks Turkish Airlines Ticket Counter at SFO - NBC Bay Area
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Protest Blocks Turkish Airlines Ticket Counter at SFO

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Protest Against Turkish Invasion of Syria Held at SFO

    A group of protesters tried to disrupt a Turkish Airlines flight leaving from SFO in protest of Turkey's recent military invasion of Syria -- 49% of Turkish Airlines is owned by the government of Turkey. Sergio Quintana reports. (Published Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019)

    About 100 people turned out to protest at the Turkish Airlines ticket counter at San Francisco International Airport, an airport manager confirmed.

    The protest, which blocked the Turkish Airlines ticket counter in the international terminal, was in response to Turkey's recent military invasion of northern Syria. Ticket holders were diverted around protesters and no flights were delayed.

    The government of Turkey owns 49% of the airline.

    "We don't have a Turkish Consulate in the Bay Area, so this is the closest we could get to actually finding a way to impact Turkey," said protester Sabrina Melendez of Richmond.

    A Tweet from Occupy Oakland said that the ticketing counter was completely shut down.

    The demonstration is the first organized effort in the Bay Area to call attention to new violence in Northern Syria. Protesters called out two people -- the president of Turkey for ordering this week's military assault, and U.S. President Donald Trump for ordering American troops in the region to stand aside.

    The demonstrators were trying to disrupt the Turkish Airlines 6 p.m. flight heading to Istanbul. Protesters in the group held up signs with messages like "solitary with Rojava" and "veterans for Rojava," a reference to the region in northern Syria controlled by the Kurds.

    "The government that's developed a certain degree of autonomy there have been the best allies that the United States and all Western Countries have had against Islamic Fundamentalism, Isis," said demonstrator Mike Isreal.

    Along with capturing Isis fighters the Kurds have also been securing them in prisons and camps there. They said Turkish artillery targeted one of those prisons this weekend and at least five Isis militants escaped. Prison officials told NBC's Richard Engle that they believe Turkey is trying to free Isis fighters.

    Saturday night there were also reports that multiple artillery rounds exploded near U.S. special forces in the region. 

    This week Trump ordered them to stand down as Turkey launched its operation. Since then he's issued warnings.

    "If Turkey does something that they shouldn't be doing, we will put on sanctions the likes of which very few countries have ever seen before," Trump said.

    He has not offered any additional specifics. 

    In the meantime, women and children are trying to escape the violence, and people in the Bay Area with family there are shocked the the U.S. government would allow this to happen.

    "United States, they betrayed the Kurdish before, but not like this time," said protester Raman Osman. "Because you are still fighting alongside, and you're just fighting Isis, but Isis is still there."

    The group of protesters is hoping to draw more attention to their cause. They're planning a second demonstration Sunday at noon at San Francisco's Union Square.

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