RIYADH: A shocking pro-Daesh video aired by an official Turkish state news agency has left several social media users and terror watch groups in disbelief.
In a number of posts on its official Arabic social media accounts, the state-owned Anadolu news agency described ISIS fighters as the “moderate faction of the Syrian opposition.” All posts have been now deleted, however Arab News managed to obtain screen shots of them prior to their removal.
The main video in question shows a number of soldiers wearing the ISIS insignia, and was published under the title “Moderate Opposition Retook The Strategically Important Saraqib Town in Idlib” before ultimately being unpublished later on. The news agency then resorted to reposting the same story but without the controversial clip.
Several social media users slammed what was posted as further evidence of unwavering Turkish support and sympathy for terror groups. The fact that Anadolu is known for being closely controlled by officials close to President Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has further supported the assumption that the deleted video reflects the actual thinking within the agency, the party and the Erdogan government.
“What more do people want to see to believe that the Erdogan regime is playing with fire! The blood on innocent is on their hands,” wrote one Facebook user.
“Europe might just be feeling the danger of Erdogan now, but we have been suffering for years,” said another.
Turkey’s questionable actions in Syria and towards ISIS have long raised serious questions among its allies, let alone its critics.
Last December, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey of working with Islamic State proxies and said Ankara’s ambiguity toward the group was detrimental to its NATO allies fighting in Syria and Iraq.
“The common enemy today is the terrorist groups. I’m sorry to say, we don’t have the same definition of terrorism around the table,” Macron told reporters.
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“When I look at Turkey they are fighting against those who fought with us shoulder to shoulder against ISIS (Daesh) and sometimes they work with ISIS proxies.”
“I think any ambiguity with Turkey vis-a-vis these groups is detrimental to everybody for the situation on the ground,” Macron said. “The number one (priority) is not to be ambiguous with these groups, which is why we started to discuss our relations with Turkey.”