NAT SEC

ISIS’ Return To Syrian Town Sparks Twitter War In Turkey

Turkish users argue over Ankara's complicity in helping ISIS flourish

Jun 25, 2015 at 7:52 AM ET

Mere months after Kurdish fighters, backed by U.S. coalition airstrikes drove ISIS out of the Syrian town of Kobane, declaring victory against the group, ISIS is back reportedly killing dozens in an attack staged from three sides of the town.

At least 25 people were killed and more than 75 injured according to reports. It caused consternation in neighboring Turkey, where accusations flew over the possibility that Turkey had allowed ISIS to prosper, and sparked competing Twitter trends.

The hashtag #TerroristTurkey gained traction first, after rumors spread that one of the attacks on Kobane was launched from the Turkish side of the border—a rumor Turkish officials denied, going so far as to provide video evidence that the car bomb in question neared the town from Syrian territory.

Still, many pushed the old accusation that Turkey was implicit. The U.S. had previously stepped in to stand by the government in Ankara.

Soon, though, the hashtag was outpaced by a competing one: #NeMutluTürküzDiyene, or “How happy are those who can call themselves Turks.” Under this hashtag, many highlighted Turkey’s humanitarian contributions to Syrians.

The outpouring of emotion in Turkey highlights how closely Turks are monitoring fighting in Syria and Iraq and how tensions from the war continue to breach its borders.

Turkey’s large Kurdish minority has been especially interested in the neighboring conflict, in which Kurdish fighters have made significant gains. In Ankara, reaction to Kurdish-led victories has been mixed, leading to suspicion and anger among Turkey’s Kurds that has occasionally spilled into the streets.

Read More:

Car Bomb Explodes In Syria’s Kobane (Reuters)
ISIS And Kurds Battle Over Kobane (Ha’aretz)