Further proof of ties between the Turkish military and Islamic State fighters operating on the Syrian-Turkish border has been revealed in the Cumhuriyet newspaper, which published more transcripts of telephone calls between the jihadists and officers.
The documents are said to come from an ongoing court case on Islamic State at the Ankara 3rd High Criminal Court. The investigation was reportedly prompted after six Turkish citizens reported to police that their relatives had joined the terrorists. At least 19 people came under surveillance as a result and prosecutors then charged 27 individuals. The daily published the first batch in December.
The new transcripts published by the daily Monday are said to be conversations between Turkish officers and Mustafa Demir, a member of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) who is a leading figure on the Syrian-Turkish border.
“The transcripts and the documents in the investigation revealed that Demir received money… from smugglers at the border and cooperated with the officers as far as [border] crossings are concerned,” Cumhuriyet said.
In the first transcript, translated into English by Today’s Zaman, Demir is talking to a Turkish military officer.
– […] where are you, big brother? At the place where I told you to be?
– Yeah. We also saw you, your men…
– Is it possible for you to arrange that I talk with the commander here, regarding the business here? What if we could establish a contact here as we helped you…
– Okay […] I’ll pass this now. I have two military posts there. If the worst comes to the worst, I’ll tell that to the commander of the station and have him take a look…
In another transcript, Demir allegedly talks with another Turkish officer, who says that he and his comrades are “in the minefield” and calls Demir to come to him immediately.
“We have stuff; come here from that side, the men are here…,” the transcript says.
“Okay, big brother, [I’m] coming…Is it [the mine field] the place where I gave First Lieutenant Burak a car?” Demir reportedly answers.
Mustafa is reported to have close ties with an IS leader, İlhami Balı, believed to be responsible for suicide bombings in Ankara, which rocked the capital in October, killing more 100 people.
This is not the only case of cooperation between Turkish military and Islamic State militants Cumhuriyet newspaper has revealed. In May, it reported that a Turkish convoy that was presumably hit by an airstrike in northwestern Syria was transporting weapons to terrorist organizations.
In November the editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, Can Dundar, and its Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gul, were arrested and are currently at the Silivri prison awaiting trial. No date has been set yet. Turkish prosecutors are demanding life sentences for both jounalists.
Dundar and Gul are charged each with one count of “gathering secret state documents for the purposes of political and military espionage,” as well as “attempting to topple the government of the Republic of Turkey.”