Istanbul: A pro-Islamic State jihadist video has urged Turks to rise up against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing him of being a traitor who has sided with the United States and Kurdish militants.
The video — said to have been recorded in the IS-controlled Raqa province of northern Syria — is one of the clearest such threats yet made by the Islamic State extremists against Turkey.
Ankara has for long been accused of not doing enough in the fight against IS fighters and even collaborating with the group, allegations it fiercely denies.
But Turkey last month finally carried out its first air strikes against the jihadists and opened one of its key bases to US forces for lethal attacks on IS targets.
Turkey’s action followed a bomb blast in the mainly Kurdish town of Suruc near the Syrian border last month that killed 33 people and was blamed by Ankara on the Islamic State group.
In the video posted on YouTube entitled “message to Turkey”, a bearded man speaking Turkish condemns Erdogan as a “heathen” who has “made friends” with the United States and the “atheists” of the separatist and staunchly-secular Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
He said the west of Turkey would soon be in the hands of “the crusaders”, a reference to the Americans, and eastern Anatolia controlled by the PKK.
Erdogan’s critics at home accuse him of ruining ties with the West with nationalist-tinged policies as well as destroying a 2013 ceasefire with the PKK with Ankara’s current air campaign against the group.
The speaker urged Turks to show loyalty to the self-proclaimed caliph of IS — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — to help jihadists conquer Istanbul.
The speaker also called on the Turkish people “without losing time” to fight “against the atheists and all those who have made you slaves of these crusaders”.