Officials announced that the hostage situation at a factory in northwest Turkey, involving American personnel, has been resolved and everyone is out of harm’s way. This update was shared on Thursday evening.
According to reports from the media, two individuals armed with guns seized seven captives at a Procter & Gamble factory in Gebze. This act was seemingly in opposition to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
“The perpetrator was caught by authorities and all individuals who were being held were safely evacuated,” a spokesperson from P&G stated to CBS News. “The fact that no one was injured is our biggest source of relief. We extend our gratitude to the authorities and first responders who handled the situation with bravery and expertise.”
The media in Turkey released a photo showing a man believed to be one of the suspects in the factory. He was wearing what looked like a simple bomb belt and holding a gun.
The Turkish media released a photo of the suspect, who is seen wearing a black-and-white headscarf with Arabic writing covering his face. In the picture, he stands next to a wall covered in graffiti depicting the Turkish and Palestinian flags, along with the phrase “The gates will open. Either musalla or death for Gaza.” A musalla is a designated area for Muslims to pray, often used for funeral services.
According to AFP, local authorities stated that police initiated a raid after nine hours had passed in the standoff, during a moment when the gunman was taking a bathroom break.
According to AFP, the local governor Seddar Yavuz informed reporters that the man was apprehended without harm.
According to DHA, a private news agency, the perpetrators entered the primary structure of the establishment in Gebze, located in Kocaeli province, at approximately 3 p.m. and held seven employees captive.
The suspects stated that their actions were meant to draw attention to the high number of deaths in the Palestinian area. According to the Health Ministry controlled by Hamas, 27,000 people have been killed in Israel’s military operation since October 7th.
Ismet Zihni reported that his spouse, Suheyla, was one of the captives. He shared with DHA that he contacted her near the factory. Her response was, “We have been taken hostage, but we are safe.” She then ended the call.
The police closed off the roads around the factory and were reportedly attempting to negotiate with the individuals holding hostages.
P&G’s main location in Cincinnati has acknowledged an ongoing situation on Thursday. A spokesperson for P&G stated to CBS News that the well-being of their employees and partners is their utmost concern. As a precautionary measure, the Gebze facility has been evacuated and they are collaborating with local authorities to address a pressing security matter.
According to the company’s website, P&G Turkey has 700 employees working at three locations in Istanbul and Kocaeli. Their production includes popular cleaning and hygiene products like Ariel washing powder and Oral B toothpaste.
The general sentiment towards Israel and its primary supporter, the United States, has increased in Turkey since the start of the conflict. There have been frequent demonstrations in major cities to show support for the Palestinian people, along with demands for a prompt cease-fire.
The Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been very vocal, denouncing Israel for their “war crimes” and drawing comparisons between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and notorious Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler.
In November, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara cautioned about protests criticizing U.S. foreign policy and advocating for boycotts of American companies. This warning came after demonstrations and violent incidents targeting establishments like McDonald’s and Starbucks due to the Gaza conflict.
The DHA also shared an image of hostages celebrating a birthday. According to the report, their co-workers brought in a cake to commemorate the occasion and the hostage-takers permitted them to enjoy it.