“I’ll Be Right There Big Brother”: Leaked Transcripts Prove ISIS-Turkey Link
In the lead up to elections last June that saw Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AKP lose their absolute majority in Parliament, Turkey had long been criticized for not doing enough to assist in the fight against ISIS.
In fact, there was quite a bit of evidence to suggest that Ankara was cooperating with the group. For instance, an official familiar with a large cache of intelligence seized in a raid last summer told the Guardian that “direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIS members was now ‘undeniable.’” Similarly, a former ISIS fighter once told Newsweek that Turkey was allowing ISIS trucks from Raqqa to cross the “border, through Turkey and then back across the border to attack Syrian Kurds in the city of Serekaniye in northern Syria in February.” ISIS members, the source said, would “freely travel through Turkey in a convoy of trucks,” and stop “at safehouses along the way.”
But after last summer’s elections in Turkey, everyone seemingly forgot about Ankara’s apparent complicity when Erdogan granted the US access to Incirlik from which Washington was henceforth allowed to fly combat missions. That, combined with Erdogan’s promise to step up the war on “terror,” was supposed to be “proof” of Turkey’s commitment.
Despite numerous reports to suggest that Turkey wasn’t striking ISIS at all, but rather simply targeting the PKK (Kurdish insurgents with whom Turkey has been at war for years), the mainstream media generally stuck to the script that said Ankara had officially joined the war on Islamic State.
And then, in November, Vladimir Putin pushed Turkey’s cozy relationship with ISIS back into the spotlight following Ankara’s move to down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border. Since then, the world has begun to question whose side the Turks are really on, especially in light of the evidence Moscow has presented linking Erdogan to Islamic State’s illicit oil trade.