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ISIS Claims Execution of an American in Turkey

ISIS Claims Execution of an American in Turkey


Ahmet S Yayla, Ph.D. & Anne Speckhard, Ph.D.



Sixty-one-year-old, American worker, Thaddeus Mithcheel Borowicz, fire chief at Incirlik military base in Adana in Southern Turkey was found dead in the garden of his apartment on July 13, 2016. Different reports of his death are reported in Turkish news. Turkish state run media reports that Mr. Borowicz forgot his keys and tried to climb down a metal cable he had attached to the chimney of his rooftop, falling when it snapped. For an older gentleman to be climbing a metal cable to try to break into his tenth story apartment seems odd to say the least. In addition, it’s strange that if he was trying to break into his apartment from the roof that he had left his briefcase sitting outside, near the front door of the building.

Another Turkish news source reports that police ruled that Mr. Borowicz either jumped or fell from the window of his tenth story apartment, although that again did not explain that his briefcase was found near the entrance of his home, far from his body. Mr Borowicz’s legs were apparently torn from his body, as he fell, by an iron door on the building. His upper and lower body were inexplicably separated by a distance of three meters on the ground—perhaps thrown in different directions after hitting the gate. Vectrus, Borowicz’s employer, identified him as the assistant fire chief at the base, which is used by U.S. fighter jets to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Mr. Borowicz’s Turkish wife, Zeliha Borowicz told Turkish journalists that the police would not let her see her husband’s dead body.

Even more troubling was that ISIS claimed the murder of the American on Telegram with the following announcement in Turkish in the late morning of July 19th.


“In Adana, we assassinated an American Officer. 

One of ISIS military detachment in Adana assassinated and killed an American Officer who works at the Incirlik Military Base. 

The operation was executed at the home of the officer. The reason we are claiming this attack later so that we could ensure the security of our soldiers.

As everybody knows, Incirlik Military Base is used by American and other coalition forces. War jets take off from this base to hit the cities and regions under the control of Islamic State in Syria”


ISIS has carried out multiple assassinations of its enemies in Turkey—although they have thus far been limited to targeting Syrian activists including Ibrahim Abd al-Qader and Fares Hammadi. Likewise, on July 17, two Islamic State operatives wielding pistols attempted to assassinate the Syrian journalist Ahmed Abd al-Qader in Sanliurfa. Abd al-Qader, who edits the online publication Eye on the Homeland, was also nearly assassinated in Gazientep earlier this year. The Turkish southern border towns of Sanliurfa, Gaziantep and Kilis, have each been used by ISIS as rest and relaxation areas, as well as staging grounds for logistics, recruitment and resupply purposes.
ISIS cadres cheered on social media last week when, after the failed coup attempt, Erdogan briefly closed Incirlik military base from where Coalition flights that provide air support for their Kurdish enemies in Syria are based. Meanwhile Erdogan’s government has been supporting anti-American rhetoric of late, which is also worrisome for the safety of Americans living and working in Turkey. Also the crack down on the military and the police in Turkey surely weakened the counterterrorism capacity of Turkey enabling ISIS and other terrorist organizations to enjoy more freedom. That ISIS could kill Americans working at Incirlik airbase is important to whether or not operations against ISIS can continue to safely be based there. Whether or not ISIS killed Mr. Borowicz is not yet established. However, ISIS would like us to believe they did.


Ahmet S. Yayla, Ph.D. is the Deputy Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE). He is also Adj. Professor at the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University and formerly served as Professor and the Chair of the Sociology Department at Harran University in Turkey. Dr. Yayla earned both his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Criminal Justice and Information Science from the University of North Texas in the United States. Dr. Yayla served as the Chief of Counterterrorism and Operations Division for the Turkish National Police.

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. is Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University in the School of Medicine and Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE). She is also the author of Talking to Terrorists, Bride of ISIS and coauthor of Undercover Jihadi and Warrior Princess. Dr. Speckhard has interviewed nearly 500 terrorists, their family members and supporters in various parts of the world including Gaza, West Bank, Chechnya, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and many countries in Europe. In 2007, she was responsible for designing the psychological and Islamic challenge aspects of the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq to be applied to 20,000 + detainees and 800 juveniles.

Both authors are sought after counter-terrorism experts and have consulted to NATO, OSCE, foreign governments and to the U.S. Senate & House, Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, CIA and FBI and CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, and in Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, London Times and many other publications.

More information about the ISIS Defector interviews is available in their just-released book: ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate.

Reference for this article is Yayla A & Speckhard, A (July 20, 2016) ISIS Claims Execution of an American in Turkey, ICSVE Brief Reports.


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