Reports show that Turkey has become a key safe haven for “Islamic State”. The logistics for the Islamists also continue to function. The Turkish law enforcement authorities are only hesitant to react.
Two recent reports have put Turkey in an awkward position. The first, an official report of the Turkish Financial Crimes Investigation Authority (MASAK), revealedthat the IS arms supply chain is based in Mersin, a port city in southern Turkey on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Three companies are said to have been involved, and a Chinese-born Uyghur man provided materials for the sale of armed drones and the manufacture of chemical weapons. All three companies were from 2015 to 2017 on behalf of the “Islamic State” worked as a procurement officer for drones and IED equipment. IEDs are improvised explosive devices – that is, improvised explosive devices made with simple means.
Arms deliveries to Syria on behalf of Turkey?
Second, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave in a television interview famousthat the Turkish Secret Service (MİT) captured Nuri Gökhan Bozkır in Ukraine. Bozkır is suspected of involvement in the assassination of Necip Hablemitoğlu, an academic popular in Kemalist circles, before he was assassinated on December 18, 2002, just after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power. Erdoğan also claims that Bozkır has ties to the banned Gülen movement, commonly referred to by the Turkish authorities as the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), named after its exiled leader, Muhammed Fethullah Gülen, whose organization (see here and here) is closely associated with the CIA. He is also said to have supplied weapons and ammunition to the “Islamic State”.
After Bozkır’s arrest, more information emerged about his involvement in the arms trade. As a former member of the Turkish special forces, he claimed that from 2012 to 2015 he bought arms from Eastern Europe and Central Asia on behalf of Turkey and delivered them to Syria. According to Bozkır, he sent weapons to Syrian Turkmen a total of 49 times, disguising them as boxes of groceries and vegetables. Bozkır may have more ties to the Turkish establishment than initially thought. In 2017, Turkey was looking for an engine for its domestic ALTAY main battle tank. Both the government and the contractor TÜMOSAN had reached an agreement with the Ukrainian state-owned arms manufacturer UkrOboronProm. As it turned out, Bozkır was a partner of the company’s Turkish representation, Delta Defense Defense LTD.
Although his ties to “Islamic State” are less documented, Bozkır was a suspect in a case where improvised explosive device (IED) equipment was found in Akçakale, Şanlıurfa in 2015 and was wanted for supplying arms to the IS terrorist militia and membership in the extremist group.
Long list of people with IS connections in Turkey
However, Bozkır was not the only fugitive linked to ISIS in the country. The suspect in the deadliest terrorist attack in modern Turkey – the Ankara train station massacre on October 10, 2015 – was Mustafa Dokumacı, who nonetheless managed to flee the country. His Azerbaijani wife, Ulkar Mammadova, told police that she and Dokumacı were assisted by Turkish soldiers when they tried to cross the border in 2014. She claimed her husband was later killed in a drone strike in 2020. After her confession, six women, including Mammadova and several other wives of senior IS leaders, were released by court order. Mammadova was on the Turkish police’s “suicide bomber” list.
It was also revealed last year that ISIS leader Jamal Abdel Rahman Alwi, who is accused of issuing the fatwa to burn two Turkish soldiers, was free and doing a bird trade in Gaziantep, Turkey operation. He was only arrested after the ensuing public uproar. Last year, a senior man believed to be Turkish IS leader Abu Osama Al-Turki was arrested in Syria and taken to Turkey by MİT suspected of a plan to conduct a large-scale operation through illegal entry with explosives in Turkey had experienced.
Another suspected ISIS member, Muhammed Cengiz Dayan, has been accused of being the leader of the terrorist group’s Azerbaijani-Turkish branch. Although he denied allegations of his involvement in the Ankara massacre, he was sentenced to 10 years, 10 months and 37 days in prison. However, lawyer Eylem Sarıoğlu told the court that despite all the evidence gathered, Dayan had been arrested and released twice before 2017.
In February 2021, the Turkish gendarmerie announced that the chief financial officer of “Islamic State” had been arrested. However, there was an interesting coincidence: this IS member was caught in Mersin, which the MASAK report says is the center of the IS arms trade. According to media reports Mersin is the main station for IS fighters who travel to Europe disguised as refugees. Another IS actor, the organization’s former “finance minister”, Sami Jasim [al-Dschuburi]became according to Reuters captured by the Iraqi government with the help of the Turkish secret service MİT. It was said that Jubiri was in north-western Syria but was arrested in Turkey.
There are other interesting reports about the trading activities of the “Islamic State” in Turkey. Turkish citizen Ömer Yetek was released from prison in 2020. Yetek is the terrorist organization’s so-called “media minister” who took and later published gruesome footage of Turkish soldiers being burned. Yetek then became a whistleblower, but it has emerged that one of the three companies he used while with IS is still operating in Turkey. In 2019, the US Treasury Department identified two Turkish citizens and four companies as part of the “ISIS finance, procurement and recruitment networks in the Middle East and South Asia„.
Two years later, in 2021, a decree was issued by the Turkish President freezing the company assets of these two Turkish citizens. However, one of their companies, the Tawasul Company, had begun dissolution in February 2020 and completed it in September 2020. When the Turkish authorities acted, the Tawasul society existed no more. Finally, in January last year, a Turkish court overturned the asset freeze ruling against Turkish company Al Alamia because of “lack of reasonable reasons” on. Al Alamia has been accused of funding ISIS operations from Reyhanli (Hatay).
Turkish establishment appears to have ties to IS
In a parliamentary question MP Alpay Antmen, a member of the main opposition party CHP, wanted answers from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu regarding the “Islamic State” arms trade in Turkey. In particular, Antmen wanted to know if there was an ongoing investigation into ISIS suspects. “It appears that the security forces have been monitoring these suspects for years,” he says. According to Antmen, a crucial question remains unanswered: how the Turkish authorities allowed these ISIS suspects to run a business on Turkish soil, and how one of them, Aleppo-born ISIS suspect Hag Geneid, was granted citizenship in 2017 — the same Jew mysteriously ruled “unpunishable” by a Turkish prosecutor in 2019.
All this is only part of the whole, but this alone makes it clear that there are some forces in the Turkish establishment that have close ties to “Islamic State” and also actively support this terrorist militia. Out of whichever reasons.