ISIL militant who threatened Erdoğan revealed as Turkish confectionary seller
ISTANBULThe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant who appeared in a recent video threatening President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with the “conquest” of Istanbul has been revealed as a Turkish confectionary seller, daily Vatan reported.
Pro-ISIL social media accounts shared an undated video on Aug. 17, where a fluent Turkish speaker slammed Erdoğan for supporting Western “crusaders” and “atheist” militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while calling on jihadists to conquer Istanbul.
Vatan reported on Aug. 20 the ISIL militant, codenamed “Abu Ammar,” was identified as Fatih Acıpayam, a 47-year-old confectionary seller from Turkey’s northwestern province of Bursa.
Acıpayam is married with four daughters and his neighbors described him as a “harmless” person.
The militant’s neighbors from Bursa’s Gürsu district acknowledged hearing rumors of Acıpayam crossing the border into Syria and joining ISIL. However, they claimed Acıpayam was not a particularly religious person before moving to Bursa from his hometown in Kahramanmaraş, a southeastern province of Turkey.
“Before he moved to Bursa, he wouldn’t even perform salah [daily prayers]. His transformation happened here. At first, he wouldn’t even enter the mosque. He sold his confectionaries at the mosque’s entrance,” a relative alleged.
An acquaintance stated Acıpayam was taken into custody in an operation three years ago, but was later released.
“Police knew about them [radical Islamists] and kept them under surveillance. The Wahhabis could deceive them because their theological knowledge is inadequate,” his acquaintance argued.
Reports indicated Acıpayam’s family left Bursa for Syria in 2014, with 100,000 Turkish Liras in cash after selling all their property in Bursa.
In the provocative video, the militant slammed Erdoğan as a “traitor” and accused him of “opening Turkish air bases to crusaders and their aircraft to protect the atheist PKK,” while calling on the Turkish people to “revolt.”