türkçe links to original Turkish article
(Sözcü Newspaper, 27 December 2016)
Future ISIS astronaut cadre in a light-hearted moment.
Shocking details about Astrophysicist Raşid Tuğral, a graduate
of Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) in Ankara, who was
killed last year after joining the ranks of the radical religious
terrorist group ISIS, have come to light. The Voice of America (VOA)
has broadcast Tuğral's story under the headline "Falling into ISIS's Trap".
VOA commented that "Raşid's life and death constitute a typical
example of the lost generation that ISIS has seduced." Tuğral was living
in Ankara. His father is a high school teacher who has a doctorate in
Turkish literature, his older brother is a computer engineer and
composer, his uncle a mathematics professor.
Tuğral graduated from ODTÜ's physics department in 2014 and in
the same year he began graduate studies at Finland's Jyvaskyla
University. Tuğral had been active in the astronomy and photography
sections at ODTÜ and was a member of the Astronomy Group at the
university. In 2010 he found a place in 'National Geographic' with
his astronomy photographs and in 2012 he participated in a NASA
According to his friends, Tuğral's change began in 2013. Friend Utku
,Borataç noted that Tuğral began to spend more time at the ODTÜ
mosque then and another friend, Nihat Çelik, said that "the mosque
group played a role in Raşid radicalization."
Raşid says "I'm with stupid."
Tuğral returned from Finland on 2 January 2015. Telling his family
he was going out with his friends, he never returned. He had gone to
Syria. His family and friends learned about his experiences in Syria
from letters, one of which was written on 25 March 2015. After
entering Syria, Tuğral had been taken to Tal Abyad and described
his housemates there as follows:"one is a kickboxer from Germany,
another is a Bangladeshi computer scientist. He spent 15,000 USD
to come from China to Syria."
In 2015 Tuğrul married a Turkish woman who had joined ISIS in
Rakka. In August the family received the news that Tuğral had
had died. His father Süleyman Tuğral said that they have passed
a complaint to the public prosecutor and are awaiting a reply.
Tuğral's friend from the ODTÜ Astronomy Group, Utku Borataç,
still wonders how Tuğral was snatched into the violent world of
ISIS. Nihat Çelik said that Tuğral couldn't bridge the gap between
his two worlds: "I think he was very confused."
With Nobel Prize winning physicist Walter Kohn, before the fall.