Vital role of Turkey’s ruling AKP in the rise of ISIS

A recent report by the German daily Die Welt indicates that more than 1,000 Turkish nationals have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).

According to local Turkish media, the actual number is believed to be higher, and continues to rise as ISIS recruits more and more young men in cities around Turkey.

From a single neighorhood in the capital Ankara alone, locals estimate that over hundred have recently travelled to Syria to join ISIS.

Last June in Istanbul, ISIS went so far as to set up a public donation stand collecting money for the war in Syria. It was reported that the stand was used for signing up new recruits.

On August 14, in Dilova, a town in Kocaeli, a city in northwest Turkey, a group of 10 young men left for Syria leaving behind a note which read: “We are going to Syria and we will not be back until Turkey becomes a state of Islam.” Speaking to Turkish daily soL, one of the residents of Dilova said: “We recognize the ISIS guys. They have been in our neighborhood for over a year and a half. They have ISIS stickers on their cars, we realized who they really were after watching their actions on TV.”

During the 12-year AKP rule, given the ruthless neoliberal economic policies implemented by AKP that increased unemployment and given the assault on the secular nature of the Republic coupled with a systematic ideological drive to Islamize all aspects of social life, it is not surprising that groups like ISIS can easily recruit among the youth in Turkey.

AKP provides logistics support to ISIS in their fight against Syria

While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) denies helping ISIS, the evidence for the vital role AKP has been playing by providing arms, logistics, training and funds to ISIS is irrefutable. The 500-mile long border with Syria has served as a staging area for groups including ISIS to launch attacks in Syria including the Rojava region controlled by the Kurdish.

There are reports of Turkish ambulances being used to transport fighters across the border and then carry the wounded back to Turkey for treatment in government hospitals. Given all this, it is also no coincidence that most of the ISIS strongholds in Syria are close to the Turkish border.

In an interview he gave to Washingon Post in the Turkish border town Reyhanlı on August 12 , a senior ISIS commander stated that Turkey’s support was instrumental in the success of his organization. He also said “We used to have some fighters, even high-level members of the Islamic State, getting treated in Turkish hospitals. And also, most of the fighters who joined us in the beginning of the war came via Turkey, and so did our equipment and supplies.”

In another interview with an ISIS fighter conducted while he was receiving medical treatment in Ankara, the fighter said “Turkey paved the way for us. Had Turkey not shown such understanding for us, the Islamic State would not be in its current place. It [Turkey] showed us affection. Large number of our mujahedeen received medical treatment in Turkey.”

Turkey: A market for smuggled oil from Syria and Iraq

ISIS makes a huge amount of money from the sale of oil from the captured oil fields in Syria and Iraq which is then smuggled to Turkey.

According to an opposition party deputy of the border town Hatay, Ali Ediboglu, as of June 2014, the amount of smuggled Syrian oil sold by ISIS in Turkey reached $800 million. Ediboglu says “They have laid pipes from villages near the Turkish border at Hatay. Similar pipes exist also at Kilis, Urfa and Gaziantep (border cities in Turkey).

They transfer the oil to Turkey and parlay it into cash. They take the oil from the refineries at zero cost. Using primitive means, they refine the oil in areas close to the Turkish border and then sell it via Turkey. This is worth $800 million.”

With ISIS’s recent advance in the oil rich regions of Northern Iraq, it is now estimated that ISIS rakes in over $1 million a day from the sale of oil to Turkey from the captured oil fields in Iraq.

Turkey’s military support of ISIS

On March 21st, after crossing the Turkish border at Yayladagi, ISIS mercenaries along with members of Jabhat al-Nusrah (another Al-Qaeda off-shoot) and Ahrar ash-Sham attacked the Syrian town of Kassab, a town of predominantly Armenian population. During the attack that killed over 50 and displaced over 400, it was reported that the Turkish military provided support to these groups by artillery, tank and missile fire directed at the Syrian Arab Army fighting the mercenaries.

There were also claims that members of Turkish special forces were fighting alongside the mercenaries, helping direct the artillery.

AKP is equally guilty of ISIS’s crimes

On a TV program he attended on August 6, with an answer representative of the Sunni sectarianism of AKP, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, shamelessly attempted to justify the emergence of ISIS as a legitimate force in the region. Responding to a question, he said “ISIS could be seen as a radical, terrorizing organization but let’s keep in mind that among ISIS members, there are Turkish, Arabs and Kurdish. If Sunni Arabs had not been excluded in Iraq, there would not have been such a rage…The past grievances and the rage in the region resulted in a big reaction. ISIS is an organization that grows with this rage but let us not forget the source of the problem.”

ISIS is a group that has unleashed an unheard level of terror on the people of Syria and Iraq. They have killed thousands in cold blood in the most brutal manner. Having provided shelter, arms and financial support to ISIS, AKP officials also have the blood of the people killed by ISIS on their hands.

While the fact that ISIS is a terrorist organization that has committed crimes against humanity is no secret, it is no surprise that AKP officials can not admit that as they are equally guilty of ISIS’s crimes.

US imperialism: The godfather of all criminals

Let us not forget who the boss of all these criminals is. AKP government, as well as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who have also provided arms and funds to ISIS are all loyal client of US imperialism.

For over two years, ISIS has been one of the major forces along with other Al-Qaeda groups, doing most of the fighting in Syria, on behalf of U.S. imperialism in its effort to overthrow the Syrian government.

So along with AKP and other regional clients as well as their henchmen like ISIS, it is first and foremost U.S. imperialism that is guilty of crimes committed against the people of Syria and Iraq. AKP, hands off Syria and Iraq! U.S., hands off Syria and Iraq!

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