A video with more than 2.5 million views on TikTok claims to show spectators watching Turkish armored vehicles roll toward the Gaza Strip, which Israel has pounded with air strikes in response to a bloody attack by Hamas. But the clip is misrepresented; it shows an October 2023 parade celebrating Turkey’s centenary as a republic.
“Turkiye is now sending support to (Palestinians),” says text over the October 30, 2023 TikTok video, showing an icon of a Palestinian flag.
The clip opens with footage of people rushing outside a room before cutting to Turkish military vehicles driving down a street as people look on. The sequence finishes with a shot of a tank rolling across an open field.
Israel has sent ground forces and tanks into Gaza as part of its mission to destroy Hamas, whose fighters killed more than 1,400 people — mainly civilians — and took around 240 hostages in its unprecedented October 7 attack, according to Israeli officials.
The country’s retaliatory strikes have killed 8,796 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry. Hundreds of injured residents and foreigners escaped to Egypt on November 1, the first evacuations from the war-torn Palestinian territory.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a lifelong defender of Palestinian rights, has assailed Israel’s military operation against Hamas, accusing the government of behaving like a “war criminal.” Israel has recalled its diplomatic staff from Turkey, and Erdogan has canceled plans to visit Israel because of the war, throwing the sides’ diplomatic relations into turmoil.
But the video ricocheting across TikTok does not show Turkey — which has no border with Israel or Gaza — sending military support to Palestinians.
The footage depicts an October 29, 2023 parade honoring 100 years of Turkey’s republic, the Istanbul municipality and governor’s office — which together organized the ceremonies in the country’s largest city — told AFP.
While AFP could not determine the source of the recording, a logo for the 100th Republic Day appears on red banners hanging above the street. An AFP journalist who was present at the parade and captured footage of the same armored vehicles on Vatan Street also recognized them.
The armored vehicles appear around 54 minutes into an iBB TV live stream of the procession, which Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu shared on X, formerly known as Twitter (archived here and here). They are also visible in a video from the Istanbul Governor’s Office and a Getty Images photo (archived here and here).
Valimiz @gul_davut‘un katılımı ile “#Cumhuriyet Bayramı Kutlama Töreni ve Tören Geçişi” programı gerçekleştirildi.
Vali Gül: “Cumhuriyet, önümüzdeki yüz yılı şekillendiren en büyük güçtür”dedi.#TürkiyeYüzyılı#Cumhuriyet100Yaşındapic.twitter.com/U5OvA5weMz
— TC İstanbul Valiliği (@TC_istanbul)
October 29, 2023
AFP geolocated the TikTok shot — which is inverted — to a stretch of Vatan Street near a Starbucks and Dosso Dossi Hotels location. Google Maps Street View imagery shows windows, umbrellas and other elements that match those in the video (archived here).
— ErKurtcu_1907 (@erkurtcu_1907)
October 29, 2023
Other misrepresented clips
The opening scene of the TikTok video, which shows people rushing outside a room, is also unrelated to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
An emblem on the wall and the men’s shirts is the logo for Barbearia Pardal, a barber shop in Portugal. Reverse image and keyword searches surfaced the original video posted to TikTok and Instagram as part of a comedian’s sketch in June 2023 (archived here and here).
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The TikTok post’s closing shot of a tank also does not show Turkey.
An inverted watermark for the stock image provider iStock appears across the clip. AFP found the original footage on the website.
“Convoy of anti-aircraft vehicles on a dirt road equipped witn (sic) automatic guns and surface-to-air missiles in containers,” says the description on the clip, which was uploaded in October 2016 (archived here).
AFP has debunked other misinformation about the war between Israel and Hamas here.