The Muslim Times’ Chief Editor’s comment: These are not our ideas, these reflect thoughts of the author only, we are merely reproducing to share, not to endorse.
Source: Investigative Journal from March 2020
BY AHMET S. YAYLA, who is the Director of the Center for Homeland Security at DeSales University and an Assistant Professor of Homeland Security. Former counterterrorism and operations chief in the Turkish police, Dr. Yayla is also a member of the faculty at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies Program in Master’s in Applied Intelligence. Additionally, Dr. Yayla is a research fellow at the George Washington University Program on Extremism. Dr. Yayla is a 20-year veteran of the counterterrorism and operations department in the Turkish National Police and served as the chief of counterterrorism in Sanliurfa, Turkey between 2010 and 2013. He earned his Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in the United States. Dr. Yayla has published both scholarly works and written or co-written numerous articles related to counterterrorism and homeland security. Yayla is the co-author of the recent book ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate.
During the NATO Summit in London on December 10, 2019, President Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey of “sometimes working with ISIS proxies”1 and said that it was, “time for Turkey to clarify (its) ambiguous stance on Islamic State.”2
It was about time someone called out Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his tacit support3 to ISIS. As a matter of fact, ISIS would not have swelled to power or killed so many if the Erdogan regime had not decided to support it directly or indirectly from its emergence in 2014.
The fact is, when ISIS set up shop in Raqqa in 2014, the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) was guarding its front door and putting out an elaborate welcome mat for jihadist volunteers on their way to martyrdom.
Turkey was a central hub for the travel of over 50,0004 ISIS foreign fighters, and the main source of ISIS logistical materials, including the majority5 of ISIS IEDs, making Turkey and ISIS practically allies.6
Turkey could have easily sealed its borders, preventing the transfer of ISIS foreign fighters or the passage of logistical support. On the contrary, then-Prime Minister Erdogan, from the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2011, either turned the other way or used direct proxies to assist the terrorist organization. I personally witnessed the policies of the Erdogan Government between 2010 and 2013 as the chief of counterterrorism and operations and between 2013 and 2014 as the chief of public order and criminal investigations in Sanliurfa, Turkey, a city of 2 million which has been considered the endpoint of ISIS “jihadi highway,”7 I had to leave the police in 2014 and retire in order not to be involved with Erdogan’s atrocities, which rise to the level of crimes against humanity.