The claim that a Turkish MIT agent’s ID was found at Manbij attack

CLAIM / Photo: Turkish MIT agent’s ID found at Manbij attack  

FALSE

On January 17, Press TV reported a suicide bombing targeted a restaurant near Manbij. A tweet from the account “Turkish Field Notes” was attached. An ID photograph accompanied the caption and claimed to show a Turkish MIT (National Intelligence Organisation) agent who has involved with the Manbij restaurant attack.

However, the claim that the photo belongs to a Turkish MIT agent at the Manbij attack is inaccurate. The ID is identified as Necati Şaşmaz, a famous actor based in Turkey who has no ties with the attack. This photo, which seemingly shows the agent presumably in charge at Manbij, circulated on social media and it wrongly linked Necati Şaşmaz to the Manbij suicide attack.

The post appeared on Twitter attracted a lot of attention, particularly from its audience in Turkey and liked by over two thousand people. Though it was clear for Turkey’s social media users that it was a fitting joke, Press TV referred it directly in its actual context. First objections are aired by the account itself as to clarify that it had been a joke.

The news appeared on Press TV had repercussions in Turkey. News agencies and newspapers like Cumhuriyet, Hürriyet, Sabah captioned the misinformation. It was on the breaking news and in a short span of time, this led to a number of similar posts reporting the falsity of the news. Press TV is blamed for publishing the false news.

A caption in Turkish that translates as “TEPSAM’s Response to Press TV’s post about “Polat Alemdar”  (TEPSAM, short for Center for Turkey’s Economic Politic and Strategic Studies)

Iranian news agency is disgraced

The origin of the photo

A reverse image search linked the photo to the news about Necati Şaşmaz’s wedding. The photo was cropped for this particular tweet and the stamp gave the little (but misleading) hint that it could be a passport. Plus, in the series, “Valley of the Wolves,” Polat Alemdar is “the” MIT agent on operations with his legendarily unique approach and strategies. Quickly disseminated and soon on Press TV. This case ran between factuality and fictionality.


Press TV updated this post on January 18 with a correction note enclosed to the news.

But why Necati Şaşmaz?

The motivation behind the tweet was apparently entertainment. The joke originates from Polat Alemdar, one of the most celebrated characters in Turkey’s TV series. The caption alludes to Polat Alemdar’s representation in the series and draws a seemingly “credible” and “logical” conclusion. To be able to get the underlying humour, one needs to have a contextual background. Here are some:

Necati Şaşmaz is a famous actor in the action drama series called “Valley of the Wolves” (Kurtlar Vadisi). It was one of the longest running TV series in Turkey. The episodes revolve around the main character, Polat Alemdar, played by Necati Şaşmaz. In due course, Polat Alemdar has become an iconic character for his involvement with the mafia as a Turkish intelligence agent. The series was originally released in 2003 and the films following the similar storyline also received public acclaim.

In brief, Necati Şaşmaz has no links to the Manbij suicide attack. More information about the attack can be found here.

Sources

Twitter, Turkish Field Notes
Press TV, Updated and corrected version of the news, 17/18 January 2019
Kanal D, Valley of the Wolves
Milliyet Cadde, Necati Şaşmaz Evlendi, 13 December 2012
BBC, Syria war: 'IS suicide bomber' kills US troops in Manbij, 16 January 2019

 

Sources

Twitter, Turkish Field Notes
Press TV, Updated and corrected version of the news, 17/18 January 2019
Kanal D, Valley of the Wolves
Milliyet Cadde, Necati Şaşmaz Evlendi, 13 December 2012
BBC, Syria war: 'IS suicide bomber' kills US troops in Manbij, 16 January 2019