Turkey

Turkish brothers deny claims of Daesh link

Duo invite Russian President Putin to their restaurant in Istanbul following claims in Russian media portraying them as 'Daesh leaders'

26.11.2015
Turkish brothers deny claims of Daesh link

İstanbul

ISTANBUL

Russian President Vladimir Putin is being invited to an Istanbul restaurant run by two Turkish brothers, who have been wrongly accused by Russian media of being Daesh members.

Ismail and Ali Kember have been running a popular restaurant famous for liver recipes in the city's Fatih district since 2006. A photo of theirs at the restaurant taken alongside Bilal Erdogan, son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been circulating online for years, and has led to them being referred to as al-Qaeda and Daesh members in an attempt to implicate their guest.

"We are very disturbed by being associated with such groups," Ali Kember. "Those carrying out these acts of terror are cold-blooded murderers. No one should try to equate us, Muslims, with such people."

The brothers say Bilal Erdogan is only one of their numerous high-profile customers at Cigeristan, billed on their website as "Istanbul’s most famous liver restaurant".

They strongly deny claims that they have links to any terrorist group, and are inviting the Russian president to their restaurant so that Putin can "get to know them better." 

"This [news] is circulated in order to cause provocation," Ali Kember stresses. "Our families are also uncomfortable with the claims. We will pursue legal action if necessary."

Russian media has recently shared the photo of Erdogan with the owners, describing the duo as "alleged ISIS leaders".

The media reports come on the heels of an ongoing row between Ankara and Moscow over the downing of a Russian bomber jet after it violated Turkish airspace during a mission Tuesday despite repeated warnings from Turkish authorities.

Putin has described the incident as a "stab in the back" by "terrorist accomplices", going on to accuse Turkey of buying Daesh oil.

President Erdogan Thursday strongly refuted the claims, calling on the Russian president to show evidence for his allegations.

In Tuesday's incident, the intruding Russian aircraft was warned about the violation 10 times within five minutes before it was shot down.

It crashed in the Syrian region of Bayirbucak close to Yayladagi district of Turkey's southern Hatay province.

NATO confirmed the accuracy of the radar trace data Turkey shared which clearly showed the Russian violation.

It was not the first time Russian fighter jets had violated Turkish airspace. In early October, Russian warplanes breached Turkish airspace. Russian officials apologized and pledged that no such incident would be repeated.

Turkey had also renewed its warning on engagement rules, including a military response against violations of Turkish airspace.

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