Middle East Turkey

Islamic State Burns 2 Captured Turkish Soldiers Alive

(GPA) Ankara – The Islamic State (IS) released a video this week showing them burning two captured Turkish soldiers alive in order to “send a message” to Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

In a manner similar to the execution of Jordanian pilot Muath Al-Kasasbeh, IS released a video yesterday of two Turkish soldiers being led to a cage and then burned alive. The two soldiers – believed to have been captured late last month –  were still dressed in their fatigues as they were led on all fours to the cage where they were burned after a message was delivered by an IS spokesman directed at Erdogan.

Attribution 2.0 Generic  Flickr: quapan
Attribution 2.0 Generic Flickr: quapan

The IS spokesman said the executions were in response to Erdogan’s latest comments on continuing to “fight terror” in Syria. The message was delivered in Turkish and called for “destruction to be sowed” by IS members and sympathizers in Turkey. The video comes during the heightened activity of the Turkish operation “Euphrates Shield” and the death of 16 Turkish soldiers in combat with IS the past few days.

Following the video’s release, the Turkish government reportedly shut down several major social media sites including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. This was reported by website Turkey Blocks that monitors claims of government censorship over the Internet.

This is one of the first incidents of Turkish soldiers being used in IS propaganda since usually the victims belong to members of other Islamic countries militaries or fighters aligned with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF); which is primarily composed of Kurdish militias (who Turks have also fought in the past).

Although IS has claimed responsibility for attacks in Turkey in the past, there has also been some level of cooperation between Turkish businesses (and possibly the Turkish government) with the group in the past. Erdogan’s son-in-law has connections to the Turkish oil company that smuggled IS oil across their border with Syria and the Turks and IS have also fought a shared enemy in the form of Kurdish forces. On top of all that, Erdogan has also publicly stated that his mission in Syria is to topple President Bashar Assad; the main adversary of all the terrorist organizations operating in the country.

Turkey has cooperated with a number of groups that could easily be described as terrorists or at least terrorist collaborators and continues to push an agenda that favors many groups like Jahbat al-Nusra through their media. With these past ties, it’s no surprise that a Turkish police officer would assassinate the ambassador from Russia, the Syrian government’s closest ally. Erdogan’s two sided policy seems to be continuing to collapse on top of him more every day.