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Friday, July 11, 2014

TURKEY: Fisherman stirs up Bodrum after unfurling Islamic State-like flag

The flag on the boat has prompted a number of locals to report the fisherman to the police. DHA Photo 

 A fisherman in Bodrum has caused trouble in the Aegean resort city after unfurling a flag resembling that of the Islamic State (IS) on the mast of his boat.

The flag included the Quranic phrase, “There is no god, but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God” on a black background, a combination that is now commonly associated with IS and other jihadist groups, prompting a number of locals to report the fisherman to the police.

The fisherman, Oktay Yıldız, said he actually lived on the boat anchored at the port in Bodrum’s Torbalı district and had no “bad intentions” behind the flag.

“This is a house and a boat. It is my place of residence, according to the registers. I made a house with two rooms on it with gas and concrete. I did not steal any land from the treasury. I just built somewhere I could live, I don’t harm anyone,” said Yıldız.

The police and Bodrum port authority have launched an investigation over concerns conveyed by local and foreign tourists in the area.

Reports of associations recruiting militants, particularly in the suburbs of Istanbul and Ankara, have recently been on the rise. An Istanbul-based charity organization also attracted attention for using the “the stamp of the Prophet Muhammad” and the Shahadah (the Islamic declaration of faith) against a black background in its insignia, bearing striking similarity to those used by jihadist militants.

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