Did protestors in Istanbul ‘burn down’ the Israeli embassy recently? No, viral video is old!

By: Rahul Adhikari
May 31 2024

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Did protestors in Istanbul ‘burn down’ the Israeli embassy recently? No, viral video is old!

Social media posts claim protesters burned down the Israeli consulate in Istanbul. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

Clip shows protests outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul in October 2023. There is no proof the embassy was set on fire back then or recently.

Claim ID 4525ee08

What is the claim?

Amid recent Israeli strikes on refugee camps in Rafah, southern Gaza, a video has been shared online to claim protesters allegedly burnt down the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, Türkiye. The viral video shows protesters outside a building holding flaming torches, seemingly attempting to set fire to the structure, while people around shout slogans like "Allah hu Akbar." 

Several users shared the video on X (formerly Twitter) making the same claim.

Screenshots of some viral social media posts. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

Russian media organization Sputnik News also published the clip with the same claim. Archived versions of their report and social media posts making the claim can be accessed here, here, and here.

A screenshot of the news report by Sputnik News. (Source: Sputnik News/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the claim is false, as the video dates back to October 2023. While it is true that anti-Israel protesters recently threw fireworks at the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, there is no evidence that the building was set on fire either in October or May. 

When was the footage captured?

A reverse image search of the video's keyframes revealed that it is from October 2023. The same video was shared on social media (archived here) on October 18, 2023.

According to a report by BBC News Türkçe from October 18, 2023, protestors gathered outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul after Israel attacked Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza, causing hundreds of deaths. Protestors tried to enter the street where the Israeli Consulate General is located, and police intervened and used pepper gas to disperse the crowd. One image featured in the report stated that fireworks were launched during the protests. The place where the fireworks were launched was also seen in the viral video. (Israel has been bombing Gaza, killing thousands of people, including children, ever since Hamas attacked it on October 7, 2023.)

An image comparison between the viral footage and the image featured in the BBC News Türkçe article. (Source: X/BBC/Modified by Logically Facts)

Photos of the event available on the stock photo website Getty Images also show protestors gathered in front of the same structure amid the demonstration. "Demonstrators try to enter to the Israeli consulate protesting an explosion at a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds on October 17, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey," one such photo was captioned.

The Turkish government's official statement read that 63 people were injured, and one person died of a heart attack during the anti-Israel protests. The crowd attacked the Israeli consulate in Istanbul with stones, bricks, and fireworks. The release made no mention of any fire.

We were unable to find any credible reports stating that protestors set fire to the Israeli consulate in Istanbul at the time of this protest. Available evidence suggests that the crowd attempted to attack the consulate, leading to a confrontation between the protestors and the police.

What happened on May 2024?

It is true that on May 27, 2024, Turkish protestors attacked the Israeli consulate in Istanbul after the Israeli army launched an attack on Rafah. According to CNN TURK, fireworks were thrown at the consulate building, and a fight broke out between those who wanted to enter the building and other demonstrators who tried to prevent them from doing so.

However, there are no reports suggesting that the Israeli consulate was set ablaze in Istanbul during the May 27 protests.

Logically Facts reached out to Turkish fact-checking organization Doğruluk Payı for additional information about the claims. They informed us that the Israeli consulate was not set on fire either on October 18, 2023, or May 27 and said, "The Consulate General is located on the 7th floor of a large plaza, which is not a detached building. Therefore, it is not possible to set it on fire. Based on news reports and posts from Instagram and Facebook, it appears that the only incidents involved (any fire was) fireworks being thrown into the plaza." 

The organization further stated, "Following the demonstrations, a video surfaced showing billboards in front of the plaza burning. We discovered that this video also circulated on X on October 18, 2023. The title of the video suggested that the consulate was set on fire. However, the demonstrators were unable to approach the plaza where the consulate is located, making it clear that the consulate itself was not set on fire."

Logically Facts checked Google Maps and found that the structure seen being attacked in the viral video stands in front of a tall building that houses the Israeli consulate, corroborating Doğruluk Payı's findings.

Turkish fact-checking organization Teyit also corroborated the fact that the protestors did not burn down the Israeli consulate. They told Logically Facts, "Protests were held in various parts of Istanbul on May 27 following Israel's attack on the refugee camp in Rafah. During the demonstrations held in front of the Israeli Consulate General in Istanbul on the same date, there were demonstrators who threw fireworks at the consulate, but in current events, there is no evidence that the building was set on fire."

The verdict

An old video from October 2023 was falsely shared as protestors setting fire to the Israeli consulate in Istanbul a few days ago. Though protests were held outside it recently, there is no evidence that the embassy was set on fire following the Israeli attacks on Rafah. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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