Unanswered questions about Turkey’s relationship with ISIS
In a recent update about ISIS’ status in Syria, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights warned of “strong comeback” for the terrorist group in the Syrian desert.
Furthermore, ISIS has been active in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and in the southern Libya as shown on the terrorist group propaganda’s clips all over social media.
Thus, it is a warning and a wake-up call for all honest parties who fought ISIS to prepare for possible attacks from the terrorist group in the near future.
For many, ISIS is just a terrorist group, but for experts in counter terrorism, the extremist organisation is an ideology that needs to be eradicated from its roots by ending any sort of religious incitement.
Unfortunately, some regimes are providing safe haven for extremists who use the same language as ISIS, and no one is doing anything about it!
The ugly truth is that many pro-ISIS individuals and preachers have somehow become “activists” and they are now actively using all sorts of social media platform to incite under the pretext of “free speech”.
One preacher that I have tracked used to appear wearing ISIS’ black uniform and holding an AK-47 on the battlefield. Now, he is recording from a studio and sending messages to his followers against Arab countries!
Those extremists might have changed the way they look and the way they speak, but their ideology is the same and their aim is to destabilise the Middle East North Africa region to open a space for the so called “caliphate”, which for them is the ultimate goal.
The majority of those preachers of hate live safely in Turkey under dictator Erdoğan’s wing, and I mentioned a few of them in a recent article titled “Turkey, the hotbed of extremists and preachers of hate.”
They openly incite violence and call for the killing of innocents and the destabilising of sovereign countries, and all this happens by Erdoğan’s orders, who exactly like ISIS has a dream to become a “Caliph” by reviving the demised Ottoman empire.
The undeniable fact is that no one has benefited and cooperated with ISIS as much as Erdoğan’s intelligence agency.
According to Brett McGurk, the US Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, he visited Turkey more than any other country to make them secure their border to prevent the passage of over 40,000 terrorist fighters to Syria.
Turkey however did not comply with his demands and kept the influx of ISIS terrorists for years.
Not only US envoy McGurk though, but even the Russian Defence Ministry published in 2015 a video that showed tens of oil tanks coming from ISIS-held areas and crossing the Turkish border on daily basis.
According to some reports, Turkey paid small amount of money for the stolen oil which was enough to keep ISIS operations running in Syria and Iraq.
Another unanswered question related to Turkey and ISIS relations was the release of 49 hostages taken at the Turkish consulate in Mosul in 2014.
While tens of innocent foreigners were brutally executed, somehow Turkish diplomats survived and went back home safely, and that incident begs the question of how Turkey negotiated and communicated with the terrorist group in the first place?
The US’ successful operation to kill the head of ISIS, Al-Baghdadi, in 2019 took place miles away
Some experts commented on Baghdadi’s location by asking questions of whether “Ankara tolerates, or coordinates, with elements of ISIS?”
Other analysts, openly accused Erdoğan’s regime of “active and passive support for ISIS”, emphasising that the relationship is evident and well documented.
Certainly, there are many speculations about Turkey’s ties with the terrorist group, but no one seems to take this issue seriously and point the finger at the Turkish regime and hold them accountable for all ISIS killings and destruction.
This silence has emboldened Erdoğan who is now hosting extremists, while the rest of the world is uniting against extremists and hate speech.
Hopefully in the coming days the new US administration will deal differently with Erdoğan and open all these files that have been marginalised for so long.
Abdulrahman Taleb, is a British-Arab researcher in Middle East North Africa studies.