Turkish prosecution documents show that the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was up to its eyeballs supporting ISIS, a new report by the Stockholm-based Investigative Journal has found.
Wiretaps show that Turkey’s intelligence agency, known by its Turkish acronym MIT, actively conspired to bus ISIS and al-Qaida jihadists across Turkish territory to Syria. It wasn’t simply a case of the MIT looking the other way. The jihadis were bused to Syria on buses owned by the MIT, former Today’s Zaman editor Abdullah Bozkurt, who wrote the report, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). At least 15,000 ISIS fighters entered Syria this way, he wrote. Turkish authorities knew but did nothing to stop it.
Ankara ordered police not to intercept ISIS jihadists crossing Turkish territory, former Turkish National Police counterterrorism official Ahmet Yayla told the IPT. Yayla oversaw a sector in southern Turkey near the Syrian border until 2015.
Georgetown University adjunct professor Anne Speckhard has interviewed 118 ISIS prisoners and defectors during the past three years. Some told her that Turkish intelligence knew of their activities and did not try to stop them.