Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, has declared that the country’s intelligence agents had killed the ISIS head in Syria and pledged to keep up the battle against terrorism.
Erdogan said in a broadcast on April 30 that the National Intelligence Organization of Turkey had been following a man by the name of Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini Al-Qurshi “for a long time.”
“This person was neutralized in the operation carried out by MIT (Turkish National Intelligence Organization) yesterday in Syria,” he declared. “From this point forward, we will continue to fight terrorist organizations without distinction.”
He continued by saying that Europe “is not aware of this or does not want to be aware of it” and that Turkey’s battle against terrorism benefits to Europe’s security.
Al-Qurshi took over as ISIS’s commander after his predecessor, Abu al-Hasan al-Hashmi al-Qurayshi, was assassinated by the Free Syrian Army in Syria last October.
Al-Qurshi’s background was obscure, although at the time of his appointment, ISIS called him a “old fighter.”
Following a recent absence from the public eye due to illness, Erdogan made his announcement.
Just two weeks before an important election, media reports had speculated that his health was failing.
The rumors started after Erdogan left his chair in the middle of a question during a television interview on Tuesday, then came back to say he had a “serious stomach flu.”
Erdogan’s physicians urged him to relax at home after the incident on Tuesday, and he postponed a number of public activities as a result.
The Turkish government disputed press reports on his health on Thursday, calling them “baseless claims.” The same day, he participated in the inauguration of the Akkuya nuclear power facility via video connection.
On Saturday, Erdogan appeared in public for the first time in three days at an aviation event in Istanbul, where he galvanized his followers in favour of extending his 20-year rule.