Turkey says no confirmation of IS 'burned soldiers' claim
ANKARA - Turkey on Tuesday said it had no confirmation of a video published by Islamic State (IS) jihadists purportedly showing the burning to death of two Turkish troops captured in Syria.
After users in Turkey reported problems using social media in the wake of the release of the video, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said it was essential that internet-based media showed responsibility in the face of "vile" terror groups.
Turkey has for four months pressed an incursion against IS jihadists inside Syria in support of pro-Ankara fighters. But they have faced stiffening resistance in the battle to take the Syrian town of Al Bab, taking increasing casualties.
Islamic State jihadists last week circulated a video purportedly showing two Turkish soldiers captured by the extremists in Syria being burned alive.
"There is still no clear information from our armed forces or defence ministry to confirm these video images," Kurtulmus told reporters in Ankara in televised comments.
"If there is confirmed information, it will be shared with the public," he said.
But Kurtulmus added that terror groups were "vile mechanisms" and were seeking to "spread desperation" through fear.
"In particular social media is not the place for irresponsible publications," he said. "Turkey is at the moment in a de-facto war with Daesh (IS)," he added.
After the first publication of the video late on Thursday, Turkey's Defence Minister Fikri Isik said three Turkish soldiers were currently being held by IS, without giving further details.
Users in Turkey had reported severe problems with social media after the video emerged and the Turkey Blocks monitoring network said it had confirmed a "throttling" of Twitter and YouTube affecting many users.
It said the blocks appeared to have been implemented at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) level, "with each provider applying its own controls".
However, by Monday access to Twitter was fully restored after some three days of disruption.