Until very recently, Turkey was content to let Islamic State run wild in Syria.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (the Islamic State, or IS) has been the number one target for the world’s democratic nations since it captured large swaths of land in Syria and Iraq last summer and declared caliphate under sharia law in the lands it controls. The United States and its allies have been waging a war against IS at a distance. So is NATO ally Turkey, at least theoretically, and not at a distance.
In reality, things are a bit different. Especially since the beginning of this year, several press reports in local and international media outlets told chilling stories about how jihadists move freely and recruit fighters in some of Turkey’s biggest cities. “It is no secret that Turkey has become a fertile ground for jihadist activity. Turkey says it fights IS. Maybe it does. But just randomly and reluctantly,” said one EU ambassador in Ankara.
Last month a news report detailed stunning revelations of Huseyin Mustafa Peri, a Turkish citizen who joined IS in September but, after being shot and wounded, was captured in early June by Syrian Kurds. He explained the recruiting process with chilling clarity in a video.
As if to confirm Peri’s revelations, the chronology of how a youth in southeastern Turkey was recruited by IS to detonate a bomb at a pro-Kurdish rally in Diyarbakir in early June either exposes a huge security vulnerability within Turkish law enforcement, or malice. (The twin blasts killed four people and injured over 100, two days before Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary elections.)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has effusively praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s contributions to the fight against IS.
The father of the suspect said he had contacted the police when his son disappeared in October 2014. He said that he suspected that his son, who expressed strong jihadist opinions, could have gone to join IS. The family even pleaded with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for help. Later, officials told him the young man had joined IS. Strangely, shortly before he detonated the bombs, the young man — known only by his initials, O.G. — was briefly detained at the rally due to some conscription irregularity. The police released him, even though their records should have listed his name as a “lost person in connection with terrorism.” Officials later explained that there was some procedural error that caused the bomber to be released. Not many people were convinced.
Turkey’s fiercely pro-government media went a bit too far in revealing where Ankara stands in Syria’s civil war. “Turkish Pravdas” ran the stories and headlines praising IS and condemning pro-Kurdish fighters in northern Syria who fought the Islamic State with the help of US-led air strikes. One daily, Sabah, which openly supports President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ran the headline, “YPG (a Kurdish militia) is more dangerous than ISIS.” Other notoriously pro-government newspapers such as Star, Yeni Akit and Aksam ran similar stories. That is no doubt “good journalism” for Turkish officials. But not every Turkish journalist is necessarily a good political scientist.
Last month, three journalists at the border with Syria were briefly detained for angering the local governor by asking questions about possible infiltrators from IS. The three journalists, from the Turkish dailies Cumhuriyet and Evrensel and Germany’s Die Welt, were taken to a police station for interrogation on orders from the governor.
The Turkish state helps IS. Not just with its police force and local governors and other officials in Ankara. Recently, two Chechens, who were accused of beheading three priests in Syria two years ago, avoided sentencing on murder charges, although an Istanbul court sentenced them to 7.5 years in prison for being members of a terrorist group.
The jihadist Chechens, Magomet Abdurakmanov and Ahmad Ramzanov, were captured in Istanbul in early July. The court refused to hand down a murder sentence on the ground that “the crime was not committed against Turkey and the lack of an agreement on extraditions.” Now the Chechens will serve only two years in prison, due to the Turkish penal code, which automatically lowers prison sentences. A police report said Abdurakmanov might be one of the militants seen in a video that was uploaded on YouTube, which allegedly shows the beheading of the priests.
Revealingly, Abdurakmanov told the court that he had received support from Turkish intelligence when he was in Syria. “Turkish intelligence would not help me if I were a member of al-Qaeda,” he said. “We were in contact with Turkish intelligence all the time. Turkey sent us arms, cars and money when we were fighting in Syria. Turkey was helping us because we were fighting against [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad.”
More recently, an interview with a discontented nurse was published. The nurse, an Alawite (an offshoot of Shiite Islam), claims to work clandestinely for a covert medical corps in Sanliurfa, a southeastern Turkish city bordering Syria. The nurse divulged information about the alleged role that Sumeyye Erdogan, President Erdogan’s daughter, played in providing extended medical care for IS’s wounded militants who were brought to Turkish hospitals. “No sooner did they become cognizant of my faith,” she said, “then the wave of intimidation began. I knew many things… who was running the corps. I saw Sumeyye Erdogan frequently at our headquarters in Sanliurfa … I am indeed terrified.”
Meanwhile, Turkey keeps on telling the world how it fights the IS terrorists in Syria. Even more ridiculous than this claim is that some people apparently buy the Turkish fairy tales. In April, US Secretary of State John Kerry underlined that Turkey was an essential partner of the US in the fight against IS and praised Turkey’s contributions. “I want to emphasize this afternoon the importance of the ties between the United States and Turkey, particularly the security relationship at this particular moment,” Kerry said after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart.
So it is natural that the Turks think they can always fool their allies: they help jihadist terrorists and in return get pats on the shoulder.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
Feb 02, 2020 0The remarks from the US official came in wake of the Palestinian decision to reject the administration’s peace plan. US PRESIDENT Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive to...
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.