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IS issues death warrant against Turkish President Erdogan

In a fatwa released on social media, the group declared Erdogan an apostate for supporting the US-led coalition airstrikes against IS
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting at the presidential palace in Ankara on 12 August (AFP)

The Islamic State has issued a death warrant against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The fatwa, posted online on Monday by an IS-affiliated group called Al-Battar media foundation, comes after Turkey participated for the first time last Friday in US-led coalition airstrikes against the militant group.

The religious edict said to be written by Shaykh Abu Khabab al-Iraqi declares Erdogan an “apostate” for supporting and collaborating with the US in its campaign against “fellow Muslims”. The authenticity of the statement cannot be independently verified, 

IS also accuses Erdogan of “shedding Muslim blood” and acting in unison with apostate Crusaders, Alawites and Jews.

“It is imperative to acknowledge that Erdogan and his men have declared apostasy by opening their doors to the coalition which has declared war on Muslims,” the statement said.

“The coalition is a crusade led by the US and Erdogan is a mere puppet in their hands. He must now be eliminated.”

In the detailed proclamation, which contains 13 sub-sections, the group uses religious reasoning to sentence Erdogan to death by likening him to other apostates. It says that unless he “repents from supporting the coalition” and goes back on his actions, he faces death.

“Anyone who has joined or supported this coalition, even if by a single word or action, is considered an apostate and should be killed. He [Erdogan] has no intercessor but to repent," it says.

Turkey's participation in the airstrike operation on Friday comes after an agreement between Turkey and the US on 24 August, which gave the US-led coalition a green light to launch strikes against IS in Syria and Iraq from Turkey's Incirlik Air Base. Previously Turkey had refused to allow coalition aircraft to launch strikes from its bases.

After a 20 July bomb attack blamed on IS in the southeastern town of Suruc which killed 33 pro-Kurdish activists, Turkish warplanes have continued to target IS positions in Syria, but not as part of the coalition operation.