Why Erdogan is too anxious to release Islamic State terrorists
The Turkish military assault on Kurdish dominated territories, in north-eastern Syria, highlights the internationally-tolerated illegal affairs between the regime of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and terrorists in the Middle East, including the Islamic State (ISIS) militia.
Erdogan’s widely-denounced assault on the sovereignty of a neighbor state, killing dozens of civilians within days, is not targeting to control the threat of terrorism on the south borders of Turkey, as Erdogan falsely claims. Even, the Turkish unilateral war on the Kurds will not serve the interests of the Turkish people or Europe. This military intervention will exclusively serve Erdogan’s Islamist party and its favorite terrorist ally -- the Islamic State (ISIS).
In Spring, the international coalition to fight terrorism in Syria, led by the United States, announced the defeat of ISIS. Consequently, thousands of ISIS members fled the country, while others were arrested and detained in large prisons, located in the north-eastern region, and managed by the Syrian Democratic Forces, which receives support and training from the international coalition forces.
For years, this vast desert area, in north-eastern Syria, was the main gate through which ISIS and Erdogan’s regime in managed their illegal political and economic exchange. While ISIS smuggled cheap gas and oil, stolen from Syria and Iraq, to Turkey; Erdogan provided the political cover and the diplomatic push back, which enabled the Islamic State terrorists to thrive and expand all over the Middle East.
Ironically, Erdogan was right when he described Turkey's southern borders with Syria as the "terror corridor.” This area was the gate through which Erdogan supported terrorists; including ISIS and the the Free Syrian Army militia of the Muslim Brotherhood - the Islamist organization to which Erdogan and his party belong. Unsurprisingly, the first mission the Erdogan-backed Free Syrian Army militia operated in the north-eastern region, consequent to the Turkish assault, was to deliberately open the prisons and release the detained members of ISIS.
Erdogan’s dedication to support ISIS expansion in the Middle East is not motivated by a political vision to benefit his country on the ruins of neighbor Syria. This illegal affair between Erdogan and terrorists in the Middle East has more to do with the extremist religious beliefs that is dearly embraced by Erdogan and his political Islamist organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.
One of the main sacred missions of the Muslim Brotherhood, since its early foundation, is to unite the Muslim Uma under one Islamic Caliphate system, ruled by Islamic Sharia. The fact that the Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East are operating as independent national states was a huge barrier towards achieving this mission, for decades.
With the rise of ISIS, following the uncontrollable waves of Arab Spring revolutions that led to the fall of some secular regimes, Erdogan’s hallucinations to establish an Islamist Ottoman Empire under his rule were revived. For Erdogan, ISIS is the “sacred army” that could achieve this by destroying the standing national states in the region.
Last month, during Erdogan's visit to New York City to attend the UN General Assembly, Stockholm Center for Freedom published a series of documentations proving the illegal relationship between ISIS and Erdogan's regime. The most shocking of which was a series of interrogations with imprisoned members of ISIS, conducted in cooperation with the Rojava Center for Strategic Studies, in north-eastern Syria. The interrogations concluded that there were intense economic, political, and military ties between the Erdogan regime and ISIS, over the past five years.
Nevertheless, a legal claim recently filed to the Eastern New York District Court, against Erdogan’s open sponsorship of terrorism in the Middle East, revealed that Erdogan owns a bank that he uses to collect Turkish citizens' money to fund terrorists in the Middle East, including Hamas in Gaza.
What Erdogan is currently doing in Syria is far more than a military attack on a neighbor state or a violation of Syria's sovereignty over its territories. It is a deliberate intervention to rescue Islamic State terrorists and to revive the terrorist organization, which the international forces invested years, funds, and soldiers in combating. Such illegal cooperation between Erdogan and ISIS is not only hurting the Middle East, but also poses a huge threat to Europe’s security.
It is time for the international community to appropriately confront Erdogan and his regime. Diplomatic language of condemnations and denunciations will not help in deterring a regime that openly supports terrorist organizations. A military action against the Turkish troops in Syria, followed by assigning international peace-keeping forces on the southern borders of Turkey is, allegedly, the only viable strategy, in this situation.
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