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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Opposition asks if Ankara turning blind eye to IS militants in Turkey

An opposition deputy has pointed at an American newspaper's interview with an “Islamic State” (IS) commander in Hatay and asked if Turkey is turning blind eye to IS militants entering the country.

In a parliamentary question to Interior Minister Efkan Ala, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Mahmut Tanal recalled interviews in The Washington Post with a senior IS commander in Hatay's Reyhanlı district. Tanal asked how it was possible for Washington Post writers Anthony Gaiola and Souad Mekhennet to interview senior IS commander Abu Yusaf in Turkey.

Tanal asked Ala how Yusaf had entered Turkey. “Was the commander of a dangerous organization such as the IS able to enter Turkey and was the fact that he conducted an interview [in Turkey] a security breach?”

The CHP deputy also asked if Turkey gives permission or turns a blind eye to members of the IS. “Is entering Turkey that easy? Is it within your knowledge that IS militants wander in the Reyhanlı bazaar freely?” he said.

In an Aug. 12 interview, The Washington Post claimed that Turkey had rolled out the red carpet for the IS jihadists. The newspaper wrote that Turkey has served as a “strategically vital supply route and entry point to wage their war,” for the militants, according to an IS commander.

The newspaper cited Yusaf as suggesting that the IS has Turkey to thank for its success, though its access to Iraqi weapons no longer makes it necessary to rely on the Turkish border.

“We used to have some fighters -- even high-level members of the Islamic State -- getting treated in Turkish hospitals,” he said. “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.”

Yusaf conceded that recent Turkish measures had made it more difficult to use Turkey as a supply route, even though the fact that he gave the interview in the Turkish border town of Reyhanlı showed that IS is still slipping through Turkish nets. “I myself had to go through smugglers to get here, but as you see, there are still ways and methods,” he said.

Credit to Todayszaman.com

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