TIME Turkey

Missing Teen Girls Suspected of Traveling to Syria Were Spotted in Turkey

BRITAIN-IRAQ-SYRIA-CONFLICT-POLICE-CHILDREN-FILES
AFP/Getty Images A combination of handout CCTV pictures received from the Metropolitan Police Service on Feb. 23, 2015, shows British teenagers Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum passing through security barriers at Gatwick Airport, London, on Feb. 17, 2015

The three British girls are believed to have left the U.K. to join ISIS

Three British teenagers who are suspected of traveling to Syria to join Islamist militants were spotted on camera in Turkey not long after they boarded a flight from London to Istanbul last month.

The missing girls, who are classmates, were seen on closed-circuit cameras at an Istanbul bus station on Feb. 18, CNN reported Sunday. Police said the girls got off the bus before it reached the final destination.

London’s Metropolitan Police said last week that they believe the girls — Shamima Begum, 15; Kadiza Sultana, 16; and Amira Abase, 15 — have already entered Syria. Before, their parents had publicly pleaded for them to come home, while British officials had encouraged Turkish media to urge them to return to the U.K.

Their disappearance has sparked tensions between the U.K. and Turkey, whose Deputy Prime Minister said last week it was “condemnable and shameful” that British authorities had allowed the girls to travel to Istanbul.

[CNN]

TIME Turkey

Families of ISIS Fighters Speak Out

Turkish relatives TIME about their loved ones who have gone to fight in Syria

Kurds in Turkey have been a leading force in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in recent months. While Kurds have shown robust resistance to the brutal tactics of ISIS, some youths within the Kurdish population have joined the ranks of the the militant group and of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra front.

“I tried to convince him not to go,” said Hamza Beluk, the brother of an Al-Nusra fighter. “But he didn’t want to change his mind. He wasn’t a bad person.”

Family members that have seen their sons and brothers head off to Syria shy away from discussing their relatives’ departures, which runs counter to Kurdish efforts in the region. Though fearing reprisals from organizations like the PKK (Kurdistan’s Workers Party), a Kurdish separatist terrorist organization, some families have nevertheless spoken out decrying their relatives’ decision.

MORE: Inside ISIS, a TIME Special Report

Filit Tok, a Kurd from Bingol, Turkey, and the father of an al-Nusra fighter who died while with the militant group, said that he blames al-Qaeda for his son’s death. “They took him away from me,” Tok said. “They knew that if they took him there he would die. They didn’t care.”

Kurdish fighters have not been the only ones joining the ranks of ISIS. In the past years, fighters from around the globe have traveled to Iraq and Syria into the thousands to fuel the ranks of the Islamist group. But the presence of Kurdish fighters in the extremist militant group increasingly divides the Kurdish population.

With no end in sight to the conflict with ISIS, Kurds in the border region of southern Anatolia are increasingly worried about the appeal of ISIS on some of their youths.

 

 

 

TIME Behind the Photos

Go Inside an ISIS Gift Shop

Last summer, British photographer Guy Martin stumbled upon an unexpected gift shop in the suburbs of Istanbul, Turkey. It sold memorabilia associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Martin speaks to TIME LightBox.

In Istanbul during the sweltering summer of 2014, I heard about a back street gift shop in the Istanbul district of Bagcilar.

In the Turkish city, gift shops are plentiful, offering a wide selection of plates, table coasters, badges, key rings and iPhone covers featuring the city’s Blue Mosque, Galatta tower, as well as photos of prime minister Tayip Erdogan and the young and iconic founder of modern Turkey, Ataturk.

I, however, was not on the hunt for the latest in Turkish gift shop trinkets. The gift shop that I wanted to find had a rather macabre, bizarre and terrifying premise: it sold memorabilia associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The shape of Istanbul changes dramatically after you exit the city’s center with its towering mosques and century-old buildings. The hustle of the city gives way to grey, nondescript apartments, highways, overpasses and shopping malls.

Bagcilar looks like any of the city’s other outskirts with its kebab restaurants, mobile phone shops, and low-rise apartment blocks.

Walking to the end of a busy street, past a row of men’s clothing stores, which sold black skinny jeans, hoodies and knock off sneakers, and an upmarket Turkish restaurant serving fresh salads, mezze and barbecued meat dishes, I found it. The now infamous black flag, embellished with the seal of prophet Muhammad hung outside. In the shop windows: black t-shirts, key rings, cups and more flags.

My palms began to sweat as I approached the shop; images from gory and grainy YouTube videos fill my thoughts. But the shop was closed, and local residents didn’t seem to know who owned it.

I left that day, but for the next three weeks I returned to it again and again, hoping that it would be open. On my final visit, the shop was open. Sitting at the desk, were two women, their bare legs showing underneath a rolled up black Abaya, and their face veils thrown over their heads. They wore brand new, bright pink Nike trainers. They smoked and checked their Facebook accounts.

It took them a moment to realize they had a customer. When they saw me, they quickly covered their faces, stubbed out their cigarettes and walked towards me.

I was not allowed to photograph them or the inside of the shop, they said, but I could take pictures of various objects on a long white table.

I was aware of how rare an opportunity I had been afforded, but I also knew that I never wanted to return to this place again. It had been just a few days since James Foley’s brutal murder, and I could not help associating these items with the group’s vile acts.

Before we left, the two women denied any knowledge or association with terrorism, or that the products they were selling were funding terror groups.

I sat on these images for the rest of the year and with each week that passed, the brutality of ISIS’s acts just seemed to grow. I didn’t want to look them. I felt terrible for taking them. I felt, in some strange way, associated with these objects.

But as time passed and our understanding of ISIS grew, I needed to know more about those inanimate objects. What was striking about the objects I photographed was the variety of the symbols and iconography they featured. From the ‘Seal of the Prophet’ on a white flag – often used by Al Shabaab militants in Somalia and the Arabian Peninsula – to the green, white and red flags used by militant groups in the Caucasus. These logos and brands, as Arthur Beifuss and Francesco Trivini Bellini explain in Branding Terror – the Logotypes and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations, are now an integral part of this global conflict. And, as I looked at the photographs I took that day, I was reminded not only of how global this conflict is but also what an integral role that marketing now plays to terrorist groups currently glamouring for attention in the “global war on terror”.

Guy Martin is a British photographer represented by Panos Pictures.

TIME Behind the Photos

A Turkish Flag Draws Parallels to Iconic Iwo Jima Photo

Turkish soldiers put a wire fence around area after Turkish flag is raised on Feb. 22, 2015 in the Esme region of Aleppo where the Tomb of Suleyman Shah will be placed.
Firat Yurdakul—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Turkish soldiers put a wire fence around area after Turkish flag is raised on Feb. 22, 2015 in the Esme region of Aleppo where the Tomb of Suleyman Shah will be placed.

Photographer Firat Yurdakul captured a scene reminiscent of Joe Rosenthal's WWII image

Seventy years ago, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal captured the historic photograph of five U.S. Marines and a Navy officer raising the American flag on Iwo Jima. The photograph marked a decisive, but not ultimate, victory for the U.S. during World War II, and was printed across the front pages of hundreds of newspapers in America.

On Feb. 22, 2015—just before the iconic photograph’s anniversary—a group of Turkish soldiers were portrayed in a similar ceremonial setup, this time in Syria.

Earlier that day, the Turkish army had launched a military operation 20 miles into its neighboring country to the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the Ottoman Empire’s founder, Osman I. The area around the tomb has been controlled by the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and soldiers tasked with guarding it have been trapped there for months. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised news conference that the mission aimed to evacuate the soldiers and relocate the remains; the tomb was then destroyed.

With the new tomb situated in Turkish-controlled territory just 600 ft. inside Syria, journalists and photographers were invited to document the historic groundbreaking. “It was an embedded operation,” says Firat Yurdakul of the Anadolu photo agency. “On the day, we had no idea where we were going. As we were waiting at the border, Turkish soldiers, tanks and armored vehicles entered Syria.”

Once the area was secured, bulldozers started working on the new tomb. They were followed by a group of soldiers carrying a flagpole, which they quickly raised on the new historic site in front of Yurdakul’s camera. “I [don’t] think the soldiers were posing for a photo,” he tells TIME. “The Turkish flag has an important meaning in [our] society, thus they were trying to do that ritual as honorably as they [could].”

U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945. Strategically located only 660 miles from Tokyo, the Pacific island became the site of one of the bloodiest, most famous battles of World War II against Japan.
Joe Rosenthal—APU.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945.

Naturally, Yurdakul admits that his photo resembles Rosenthal’s icon. “Without any doubt, young photojournalists like [myself] have common references—Joe Rosenthal is one of them. I thought about Rosenthal’s picture as I was taking [this] photo,” but, he assures, it was “completely spontaneous.”

With additional reporting by Mikko Takkunen

TIME Turkey

Turkish Men Are Wearing Miniskirts to Fight for Women’s Rights

Turkey Protest
Emrah Gurel—AP Some men wear skirts to show solidarity with women who have been protesting against violence against women since the recent murder of Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old woman, during a march in Istanbul on Feb. 21, 2015.

They launched an online protest following the murder of a 20-year-old student

Men throughout Turkey and neighboring Azerbaijan are donning miniskirts to honor Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old student who was allegedly murdered after fighting off a sexual assault by a minibus driver.

After Aslan’s burned body was found by a riverbed, the BBC reports, young people in Turkey were galvanized to protest violence against women. And these protests took place both on the streets and on the Internet:

On Wednesday, a group of men in Azerbaijan are believed to have started the hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy, which translates to “wear a miniskirt for Ozgecan.” Since then, the hashtag has become viral.

A related Facebook page for participants explains, “If a miniskirt is responsible for everything, if [wearing] a miniskirt means immorality and unchastity, if a woman who wears a miniskirt is sending an invitation about what will happen to her, then we are also sending an invitation!”

Turkish lawyer and activist Hulya Gulbahar told CNN that the protest is “very effective.”
“People try to find excuses for rapes and killings,” she said. “But they didn’t find any in this case, because Aslan was very innocent, purely innocent. The protest shows that a short skirt is not an excuse for rape.”

[BBC]

Read next: ISIS Uses Social Media to Lure British Muslim Girls, Think Tank Says

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

How People Around the World Eat Their Yogurt

Americans may be largely alone in their Greek obsession, a new report shows

Any trip down the yogurt aisle makes it all too clear—yogurt is having a moment. Greek yogurt alone soared from 4% of the U.S. yogurt market in 2008 to 52% in 2014. But Greek isn’t the only yogurt game globally. A new report reveals that how (and when) people like their yogurt varies greatly from country to country.

MORE: QUIZ: Should You Eat This or That?

To assess yogurt preferences, DSM Food Specialties, a global manufacturer of food enzymes and ingredients, surveyed 6,000 men and women in six major markets: Brazil, China, France, Poland, Turkey and the United States. More than 53% of people surveyed report eating more yogurt than they did three years ago, even in countries with a robust history of yogurt consumption.

Here’s how people around the world like their yogurt:

  • United States

    Chobani Yogurt
    John Minchillo—AP Images for Chobani

    36% of Americans surveyed preferred Greek yogurt, and the U.S. was the only country whose citizens named it as the favorite variety. Americans were also more likely to eat yogurt for breakfast and the most likely to pair yogurt with fruit.

  • China

    103122353
    Getty Images

    In China, people prefer to drink their yogurt; only 11% eat it by spoon. 54% prefer a probiotic variety, much more than the other markets. A full 83% of surveyed Chinese reported actively looking for probiotics in yogurt, compared to 50% or less in other countries—most choose it for its gastrointestinal benefits. (Not all yogurts contain added probiotics, but it’s a growing trend.) The growth of yogurt popularity in China is somewhat surprising, given the high rate of lactose intolerance in the population—though the survey does show that 60% of Chinese men and women believe lactose-free yogurt is healthier than other yogurt.

  • Brazil

    Muesli with berries and yoghurt
    Getty Images

    Brazilians also like to eat their yogurt at breakfast, and they’re most likely to eat it with cereal, with 55% of the surveyed population doing so. Flavored yogurt is the yogurt of choice for 45%.

  • France

    93330485
    Getty Images

    The French typically eat their yogurt as a dessert (83% do so), and 73% like to eat it on its own, the survey shows. They also prefer the flavored variety.

  • Turkey

    Plain yogurt
    Getty Images

    In Turkey, 77% of yogurt lovers prefer eating it as part of a warm meal, and plain yogurt is the most common kind. Even though yogurt was a staple in Turkey before the recent fad, 60% of Turkish men and women surveyed say they are eating more yogurt now than three years ago.

  • Poland

    Opened cartons of fruit yoghurts, close-up
    Getty Images

    The Polish also love flavored yogurt—51% prefer it—and most eat it as a snack.

    Read next: Hungry Planet: What The World Eats

    Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME United Kingdom

British Anti-Terror Cops Hunt 3 Teen Girls Feared Bound for Syria

The girls, aged 15 to 17, flew to Istanbul Tuesday

U.K. counterterror officials were urgently searching for three teenage schoolgirls they feared had run away from home to travel to Syria, police said Friday.

The girls, all good friends aged 15 to 17, boarded a Turkish Airlines flight at London’s Gatwick Airport at 12:40 p.m. (7:45 a.m. ET) Tuesday and arrived in Istanbul later that evening, police said in a statement. Thousands of wannabe ISIS rebels have crossed into Syria through Turkey since the civil war there started four years ago.

The girls were last seen at their homes at 8 a.m. (3 a.m. ET) that morning, where they made plausible excuses to their families as…
TIME Turkey

Turkish Student’s Murder Sparks Anger Over Violence Against Women

A man holds a poster depicting slain Ozgecan Aslan during a march of members of Turkey's Bar Association to protest against a law that strenghtens the police's powe in Ankara, Turkey on Feb. 16, 2015.
Adem Altan—AFP/Getty Images A man holds a poster depicting slain Ozgecan Aslan during a march of members of Turkey's Bar Association to protest against a law that strenghtens the police's powe in Ankara, Turkey on Feb. 16, 2015.

Ozgecan Aslan was murdered after resisting an attempted rapist

The murder of a woman after resisting an attempted rapist has sparked mass protests in Turkey and prompted outcry on social media.

Police say Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old psychology student, was stabbed and beaten to death on a bus in Turkey’s Mersin province Wednesday when she pepper sprayed a man who tried to rape her, according to The Guardian. Police arrested three men in connection with Aslan’s death, after recovering her burnt body from a riverbed Friday.

The murder prompted nationwide protests and condemnation from local and national authorities. “Violence against women is the bleeding wound of our country,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan said Monday.

Women also took to social media, where thousands have shared stories of their experiences with sexual violence and harassment, using the hashtag #sendeanlat, which translates to #tellyourstory.

The hashtag was the third most popular in the world on Sunday, Al Jazeera reports. The hashtag #ozgecanaslan also trended, with some 2.5 million tweets sent out by Monday.

The U.S. Embassy to Turkey condemned the violent act Tuesday.

TIME On Our Radar

Turkish Photographer Wins Two Top Awards at World Press Photo

http://time.com/66907/execution-stopped-iran-balal/
Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images A young girl is pictured after she was wounded during clashes between riot-police and protesters in Istanbul on March 12, 2014.

World Press Photo, the premiere photojournalism competition, has recognized Agence France-Presse Bulent Kilic as one of the best wire photographers of the year

Last year was a great one for Agence France-Presse photographer Bulent Kilic. For this work in 2014, he was named Wire Photographer of the Year by TIME and by The Guardian, he won First Place in the Pictures of the Year International competition, and has now bagged the first and third prizes in the Spot News Singles category at World Press Photo, the most prestigious photojournalism contest.

Kilic’s winning image was the moody and powerful portrait of a girl wounded during clashes between riot police and protestors in Istanbul in March 2014. Just days before he shot that image, Kilic had come back from two months of reporting in Ukraine. He had planned to take a few days off to rest. That’s when a 15-year-old Turkish boy, Berkin Elvan, who had been in a coma after being hit by a gas canister during street protests in June of 2013, died. “I felt that I needed to shoot this situation,” Kilic told TIME. “It was my responsibility, and I didn’t ask for any time off and just went to photograph the boy’s funeral.”

Those photos helped defined the 35-year-old photographer as one of the best wire photographers of 2014 – a distinction only made stronger in October when he captured, in a series of four photos, an airstrike on Islamic State militants on the Tilsehir hill in Syria near the Turkish border. One of these frames won Kilic Third Prize in the Spot News Singles category at this year’s World Press Photo.

“A lot of people ask me if it was easy to see these people killed in front of me. They ask me if I felt something,” Kilic told TIME. “It wasn’t easy. But this is war, and these people are also killing other people. Sometimes, you can’t really feel anything. Sometimes, you don’t want to talk about it.”

Read TIME LightBox’s interview with Bulent Kilic, TIME’s Wire Photographer of the Year 2014.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 4

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. ISIS is bringing recruits onto the battlefield faster than we can kill them.

By Tim Mack and Nancy A. Youssef in the Daily Beast

2. If body cameras become standard issue for police officers, how will we protect the privacy of people being recorded?

By Paul Rosenzweig in The Christian Science Monitor

3. A university recognizes a third gender: Neutral.

By Julie Scelfo in the New York Times

4. Can the rest of the nation — and the world — learn from one Indian state’s incredible success reducing poverty and improving quality of life?

By the World Bank

5. Want better schools? Leadership matters. Invest in high-quality professional development for school principals.

By Arianna Prothero in Education Week

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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