Turkey coup attempt: Six fake images that are being shared


One of Turkey’s leading fact-checkers, the journalist Mehmet Atakan Foça, spotted a number of fake images being circulated this weekend following the attempted military coup in his country.

Some 6,000 members of Turkey’s military and judiciary have been arrested after a faction of the army tried to topple the government on Friday night. According to the foreign ministry, more than 290 people – including more than 100 rebels – were killed, and 1,400 people were injured as a result of the revolt.

Here are a few of the fake images Foça spotted:


A soldier being beheaded?

This photo was widely circulated on social media, and was described as showing a rebel soldier just about to be beheaded. However, a Google Image search shows that this picture was actually taken in Syria back in 2013.

This picture also circulated with claims that it showed the supposedly beheaded soldier from the photo above. It was even shared by a Turkish journalist, Fatih Portakal, on his Facebook account. Of course, it was fake. It actually shows a man named Burak Salıvermez, who shared it when he was doing his military service. Salıvermez has spoken out against the misuse of his picture both on Facebook and Instagram.

The bombing of a police station in Ankara?

A video was broadcast by several news outlets, including CNN Türk, T24 and Cumhuriyet Daily. It was presented as showing the bombardment of a police station in Turkey’s capital, Ankara.

However, this video was actually filmed in Gaza in 2014, and shows the Israeli bombing of a media centre.

Screengrab from this video:

Donald Trump strikes again?

This tweet was widely relayed this weekend; however, it is from a parody account.

US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s verified Twitter handle is @realDonaldTrump - not @realDoneldTrump like this one. As this article was published, Trump had not tweeted a single word about Turkey since the attempted coup.

…And more fake

Check all these pictures in Google Images, and you’ll find:

This photo, which many people claimed was taken in Ankara on Friday night, was actually taken in Egypt during the 2011 revolution.

This photo, which was also claimed to be from Ankara, is also from the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

This photo, which was claimed to be taken at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, was actually taken in Korea in 2015 after a helicopter crash.

This photo, which was claimed to show Turkish people taking to the streets after the coup attempt, was actually taken in Morocco in 2015. It was taken during a protest against high utility bills.

“This photo of a lynched soldier is fake!” Really?

With so many fake images circulating, it’s normal that people would become wary of all images. But sometimes, images that internet users believe are fake may turn out not to be. Many people on social networks relayed claims that this photo did not show a soldier lynched on the Bosporus Bridge this weekend, but that it was actually a picture of a car accident in Van, a city in eastern Turkey, in 2006.

However, after Foça looked at all the news items published in 2006 about this car accident, he found no such image related to it. Moreover, several videos filmed on the Bosporus Bridge this weekend show different angles of this same lynching. (They are too graphic to publish here).