I saw this piece on RusNext, it is about the leader of the Merry Band of Turkomans (allegedly) who shot and killed a Russian pilot while the poor sod was still in his parachute, trying to eject from his downed plane.
Turkomans/Turkmens are a Turkic-speaking ethnic group inhabiting various places around Iraq, Syria, Azerbaijan and Turkey. Individual units of Turkoman fighters are said to be part of the coalition fighting against the Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad. When trying to overthrow a foreign government, it is convenient for Western (and especially American) media to give the impression of tons of different social and ethnic groups rising up against a repressive central government. American readers are especially suckers for that kind of narrative. They are pre-programmed to feel certain emotional resonance and develop long-range empathy for certain “approved” ethnic groups which are supposedly fighting against the evil authoritarian regime. Within the Syrian context, Turkomans are the good guys, whether they know it or not.
Western media used the exact same narrative in Libya, where Berbers supposedly rose up en masse against Gaddafi ….. which they actually did not.
In any case, according to RusNext, these guys in the photo are not even Turkomans, so don’t even bother boning up on Turkoman culture, or developing a tender empathy for them, or sending Angelina Jolie to adopt their children.
Bottom line: The guys in the photo are TURKS. Real Turks, from Turkey.
Well, at the very least, the guy in the middle, who is the leader: His name is Alparslan Çelik. He is from the city of Keban (not to be confused with Kebab, which is a delicious Turkish meat dish), in the province of El-Yasar, in Turkey. Not only that, Çelik is an important guy there: He is the son of the ex-Mayor.
Where is the Proof?
Funny you should ask that question. Intrepid Russian journalists followed the trail and found this link to a piece in the Turkish press, dated “09/07/2014” which in Turkish means July 9, 2014, Turkey being a “little-endian” kind of country.
I don’t read a word of Turkish, and neither does the Russian reporter, but he put this piece through the meat-grinder of Google-translate and it came out in pidgin English.
Making some semi-educated guesses I cleaned up the pidgin, as best I can:
From the MHP [Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi] Party district of Keban, son of the former mayor Ramadan Çelik, 32-year-old Alparslan Çelik went off to war against Iraq, alongside a Turkoman group called “Isidor”.
On his Facebook page, Alparslan posted photos of Turkomans in battle dress and carrying guns. Alparslan’s father Ramadan said he was proud of his son , “If necessary, I ‘m ready to go (too),” he said.
Ramadan Çelik was the Mayor of Keban for the MHP party between the years of 1994-1999 and then again 2004-2009. He affirmed that his son went to Iraq. [Something about Turkish nationhood, 40 years, brothers, homeland, blah blah blah]. “Yes, he is my son, and he is 32 years old. My son said to me: ‘Dad, I’m going.’ I told him: ‘Go. You will fight until martyrdom, if necessary.’ ‘I am ready to go,’ he replied.” [and he went]
Ramadan Çelik has 4 children, 3 girls and one boy. He stated that he is proud of his son because of his behavior. [?]
Apparently the surname Çelik means “steel” in Turkish, because Google translate goes nuts with the word “steel”. Everything in the pidgin version is Steel-Steel-Steel.
Returning to the RusNext piece:
The bottom photo shows Alpaslan and his friends throwing out the “Wolf Sign” using their fingers to form the ears and snout of a wolf. That, along with their pretty light-blue flag, denotes these characters to be members of the “Grey Wolves” Turkish youth organization. Which is said to be ultra-nationalist and fascist. A perfect fit for the pro-NATO coalition!
In Turkish, the “Grey Wolves” are called Bozkurtçular. They were created at the end of the 1960’s, as the youth group of the MHP. Like father, like son. Their ideology is pan-Turkic and neo-fascist. In the 1970’s they actively participated in the anti-communist coalition called “Gladio”. They committed several high-profile terrorist acts, including attempted assassination of the Pope John-Paul II. Since the 1990’s, their main activity has been fighting against Kurdish separatists. They are said to be in opposition to Erdoğan’s party.
Why? Because the Wolves, albeit Muslims, are not Islamists, they place (pan-Turkic) nationality above religion.
RusNext piece concludes that:
There were no “Syrian Turkomans” participating in the attack against our pilots. Our pilots, ejecting from the downed bomber jet, were shot by ultra-right Turkish neo-fascists, citizens of Turkey, who are fighting on the territory of Syria.