In a shocking incident, a Procter & Gamble factory in Turkey was invaded by two armed men who held seven employees hostage for several hours. The assailants, who were protesting the war in Gaza, stormed the main building of the Gebze plant around 2:20 p.m. local time on Thursday. The seven hostages were held at gunpoint while the remaining employees managed to escape, as per local law enforcement.
One of the attackers was reportedly wearing a makeshift “explosives belt.” The hostages were eventually released unharmed after security forces stormed the building when one of the assailants left for the restroom, as stated by local governor Seddar Yavuz. The attackers have since been apprehended.
In a statement, the U.S.-based Procter & Gamble said, “Earlier today, we evacuated our Gebze facility and are working with local authorities to resolve an urgent security situation. The safety of P&G people and our partners is our top priority.”
The road leading to the factory was cordoned off by the police. Inside, the hostages were seen seated in a breakroom, part of the assailants’ protest against the war in Gaza. One of the hostages managed to call her husband, assuring him that they were safe for the time being. The attackers, who remain unidentified, allegedly entered the premises by jumping over the fence and targeted employees in the factory’s cleaning and personal care unit.
Videos circulating on social media, yet to be verified, show the alleged gunman concealing his face while spray painting pro-Palestine messages on the factory walls. The graffiti read, “The gates will open. Either musalla or death for Gaza,” referring to a Muslim prayer typically used for funeral rites.
Ismet Zihni, a local resident, reported that his wife, Suheyla, was among the hostages. She had called him during the incident to inform him that she and the other six workers were safe. Some of the hostages were reportedly celebrating a colleague’s birthday when the incident occurred.
Special forces, police, and first responders were promptly dispatched to the scene. Procter & Gamble, headquartered in Cincinnati, employs approximately 700 people across three sites in Istanbul and Kocaeli, including the Gebze plant. These factories primarily manufacture cleaning and hygiene products for brands like Gillette and Oral-B. The Turkish sites also serve as a hub for operations in eight countries, according to the company.