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Palace spokesperson ignores question on ISIL captive soldiers

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Days after the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) released a video claiming to have burnt two Turkish soldiers alive, the Turkish government is maintaining its silence as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesperson, İbrahim Kalın, on Monday dodged a question about the soldiers.

Following the release of the ISIL video, Turkey restricted access to the Internet as only a few media outlets had mentioned the story. Despite an urgent inquiry from the opposition, the Ministry of Defense only said that the authenticity of the video was being investigated. Defense Minister Fikri Işık merely confirmed that three soldiers were captives of ISIL.

On Monday Erdoğan’s spokesperson Kalın was asked by journalists about the status of the soldiers taken hostage by ISIL. However, Kalın ignored the question while responding others. The reporter did not follow up on the question, and nobody else was able to ask about the brutal video that was circulated in the world media.

Meanwhile, Aydın Taş, the father of Sefer Taş, one of the two Turkish soldiers who were allegedly burned to death by ISIL terrorists after being taken hostage three weeks ago in the al-Bab region of northern Syria, said Turkish officials have not yet contacted them about his son.

Speaking to the Sputnik news agency on Friday, Taş said he had not been informed or contacted by any Turkish government or military official about his son’s alleged killing.

Taş, who lives in the village of Aşağı Eratan in the Aralık district of eastern Iğdır province, said he visited the gendarmerie station in the district to get information about his son; however, he was told that the authorities are still investigating the incident.

“We don’t have any information [about our son’s death]. We were not given any information [by the authorities]. For the videos, they only said they are investigating. So, we are waiting. We don’t know the truth. We will continue to wait [for an official statement],” Taş said.

President Erdoğan has also remained silent while the main opposition is demanding a response about the fate of the soldiers.

A news agency linked to ISIL said on Nov. 29 that ISIL forces had taken two Turkish soldiers captive in al-Bab. Photos and a video allegedly of the two soldiers were shared online on ISIL accounts late on Thursday. The Solhaber news portal identified the soldiers as Fethi Şahin and Sefer Taş. The family of Taş said on Friday that they have not been contacted by officials and that they are hoping their son is alive.

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