Turkish army dismisses soldier ‘abducted by IS’: report

map_of_turkeyThe Turkish military has ordered the dishonourable discharge of a soldier who was briefly abducted in January by Islamic State (IS) militants after he went missing on the border with Syria, media reported on Friday.

Ozgur Ors, a non-commissioned officer, went missing during an army operation against smugglers but then was rescued by a mission coordinated by Turkey’s spy agency.

A probe was then opened against the soldier over his conduct. But the full details of the case have been kept tightly under wraps and it has never been made fully clear how he violated military rules with his behaviour.

Ors was dismissed for “failure to resist ISIS, being an instrument for the organisation’s propaganda in the media and harming the reputation of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK),” the Hurriyet newspaper reported, using a variant abbreviation for IS.

It said the order was issued by an army disciplinary board earlier this week.

The Turkish military had in March launched disciplinary proceedings against the soldier for failing to resist the IS fighters.

The soldier went missing after he crossed the border into Syria on January 1 from the southeastern Turkish province of Kilis in an operation to capture a group of smugglers.

Media speculated that he might have been kidnapped by IS militants — a claim which was confirmed neither by the government nor the army at the time.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced on January 5 that the soldier was brought back home after a “successful operation” carried out by the Turkish spy agency the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), without providing further details.

In June last year, IS seized 49 Turks, including diplomats and their children, from the Turkish consulate in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Those hostages were released in September after more than three months in captivity and welcomed by Turkey’s leaders including Davutoglu.

Ors’ lawyer Erkan Akkus blasted the treatment of his client compared with the diplomats.

“Those who handed over the chief consulate and taken captives were welcomed with a state ceremony and kissed on their foreheads,” Akkus told Hurriyet.

“My client was forced to retire but he will not be able to retire because he does not meet such conditions as service time and age.”

Ankara has always vehemently denied claims of Turkish collusion with IS, which has captured swathes of territory in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

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