Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a “total” and “complete supporter of ISIS,” Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh said Tuesday.
During an interview on the Alex Jones Show, the veteran investigative reporter laid out details surrounding the United States’ current policy regarding Syria as well as the role of Erdogan in bolstering the Islamic State’s presence in the region.
“After Libya fell we began to funnel stuff… a lot of arms from Libya into Turkey…” Hersh said, referring to his bombshell 2014 “The Red Line and the Rat Line” article which detailed the United States’ covert arming of alleged moderate Syrian rebels. “The gentleman running Turkey, Erdogan, is a total, complete supporter of ISIS. I don’t think there is any question of that, even though we deny that. Our intelligence shows it.”
Despite claims to the contrary from Turkey, statements from world leaders and the highest levels of military intelligence point directly to Erdogan’s continued support of ISIS jihadists.
Following the November shoot down of a Russian fighter jet over Syria by the Turkish military, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark stated in an interview with CNN that Turkey had long been suspected of assisting ISIS.
“All along there’s always been the idea that Turkey was supporting ISIS in some way…” Clark said. “Someone’s buying that oil that ISIS is selling, it’s going through somewhere, it looks to me like it’s probably going through Turkey.”
“There’s no good guy in this, this is a power struggle for the future of the Middle East.”
The following month Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi similarly pointed fingers at Turkey, saying the majority of oil produced in ISIS-held areas of Syria and Iraq was being smuggled through Erdogan’s country.
According to a statement posted to Abadi’s website, Iraq had “stressed the importance of stopping oil smuggling by the terrorist gangs of Daesh, most of which is smuggled through Turkey,” during a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
As noted by investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed, a large cache of intelligence documents uncovered during a raid on an ISIS safehouse last summer revealed that “direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIS members was now ‘undeniable.’”
A former ISIS communications technician speaking with Newsweek last month claimed to regularly “Connect ISIS field captains and commanders from Syria with people in Turkey on innumerable occasions.”
“ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all because there was full cooperation with the Turks,” he said.
The Russian government has also repeatedly accused Turkey of being involved in the sale of ISIS oil, releasing aerial imagery of as many as “12,000 oil tankers & trucks” on the Turkey-Iraq border.
“The [aerial] imagery was made in the vicinity of Zakho (a city in Iraqi Kurdistan), there were 11,775 tankers and trucks on both sides of the Turkish-Iraqi border,” Lieutenant-General Sergey Rudskoy said.
Aside from financial support via oil sales, Turkey has been linked to much more direct support of the terrorist group.
In one such example, multiple rebel fighters speaking with McClatchy DC last August stated that the kidnapping of several U.S.-trained moderate Syrians preparing to fight ISIS “was orchestrated by Turkish intelligence.”
“The rebels say that the tipoff to al Qaida’s Nusra Front enabled Nusra to snatch many of the 54 graduates of the $500 million program on July 29 as soon as they entered Syria, dealing a humiliating blow to the Obama administration’s plans for confronting the Islamic State,” the article states.
As noted in Hersh’s latest exposé entitled “Military to Military,” which outlines several Pentagon officials’ secret attempt to counter President Obama’s disastrous ISIS policy by providing intel to nations in communication with Assad, former Director of Defense Intelligence Michael T. Flynn was also aware of Turkey’s ISIS dealings.
“If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,” Flynn told Hersh. “We understood ISIS’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.”
“The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists. The administration’s policy was contradictory.”
In a recent interview Flynn again admitted that the Obama administration’s policy in Syria was to directly support groups such as al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, as revealed in a recently released Pentagon document, in an attempt to topple the Assad regime.
In closing, Hersh speculated that the quiet uprising by Pentagon officials against Obama’s support of terrorist groups was likely due to their oath of office.
“Nobody wants to talk about directly challenging a president…” Hersh told Jones. “But I will tell you, at a certain level, at the Joint Chiefs, at the level of four star general, the oath of office is an oath to the Constitution, not the president.”
Watch the full Sy Hersh interview below: