10:37 24.02.2016(updated 13:26 24.02.2016) Get short URL
Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1490)
Despite Ankara's declared commitment to fight Daesh, Turkey's relations with the terrorist group are more complex. Documents recently released by the Cumhuriyet newspaper appear to show that Turkish officers on the border with Syria frequently communicated and worked with Daesh fighters.The transcripts are said to be part of an ongoing investigation into several individuals and their ties to the terrorist group. They reportedly detail several phone conversations between unnamed Turkish officers and Mustafa Demir, a key Daesh operative in the border region.
"The transcripts and the documents in the investigation revealed that Demir received money… from smugglers at the border and cooperated with the officers as far as [border] crossings are concerned," the Today's Zaman newspaper quoted the daily as saying.
The documents also appear to indicate that Turkish officers met with Demir in the border region.
Demir is said to be linked to İlhami Balı, the 33-year-old Daesh leader, who is suspected of ordering the deadliest terrorist attack in Ankara's history. The twin bombings last October left 102 people dead and more than 400 injured.
One of the transcripts translated into English by Today's Zaman dates back to November 25, 2014. Demir asked an unnamed officer to arrange a meeting with a commander.
"Is it possible for you to arrange that I talk with the commander here, regarding the business here? What if we could establish a contact here as we helped you…" the Daesh fighter asked a Turkish officer. "Okay. If there are any needs [as far as your request is concerned], [tell them] to inform me here," the officer responded.
In another conversation, a Turkish officer asked Demir to meet him and his comrades at a minefield. "We have stuff; come here from that side, the men are here… Come urgently; I'm in the mine [field] with a torch. Come running."
"Okay, big brother, [I'm] coming," Demir answered.
The United States and other stakeholders have repeatedly urged Ankara to seal Turkey's porous border with Syria, which Daesh, al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups use to smuggle fighters, weapons and supplies in and out of Syria. The Turkish government has so far failed to deliver on the promise.
Access to unlimited supplies and recruits delivered to the Syrian battlefield through Turkey is largely seen as the key source of Daesh's resilience and longevity. Ankara's inability to secure the 60-mile border region has prompted many to question Erdogan's true agenda with regard to the deadly Syrian conflict.