20 hours ago
ISTANBUL – Wiretapped telephone calls between a leading figure from the Islamic State (IS) and several members of the Turkish military reveal cooperation between IS and the Turkish military in letting smugglers cross the Turkey-Syria border, a report by a Turkish daily has alleged.
Documents prepared by a prosecutor's office contain a large number of transcripts of “friendly” telephone communications between military officers and Mustafa Demir, the IS member in charge of Turkey's Syria border, the Cumhuriyet daily said on Monday.
The prosecutor's documents reportedly state Turkish military officers also met with Demir on the border. The IS leader is indicated in the documents as the person behind the transportation of bombs from Syria to Turkey.
“The transcripts and the documents in the investigation revealed that Demir received money – purportedly for zakat [alms] – from smugglers at the border and cooperated with the officers as far as [border] crossings are concerned,” the report stated.
The Turkish government has long been accused by the opposition of turning a blind eye to IS' activities in Turkey as well as of having helped IS in fighting against the Syrian government.
According to the report, the documents in question are from a file in an ongoing court case on IS at the Ankara 3rd High Criminal Court.
The issues alleged in the case came to light because of an investigation launched following information given by six Turkish citizens whose relatives joined IS, the report said.
Upon the application by the relatives, monitoring of the communications of 19 people started, and a prosecutor named Derda Gökmen reportedly filed a claim against 27 suspects.
Demir, who is currently in Syria, and Ilhami Bali, another leading IS figure, are among the suspects, the daily said.
Noting Bali is the person who gave the order for Turkey's deadliest ever suicide bomb attack in Ankara in October of last year, the report said Demir had also previously come to public attention due to his close links to him.
According to the report, the prosecutor, on the grounds that the transcripts also indicated a crime other than the one he was pursuing, launched yet another investigation on the link between IS fighters and the Turkish military.
The prosecutor then reportedly, due to legal incompetence, referred the new investigation file to the prosecutor's office of the Gaziantep 5th Armored Brigade Command.
The report also said the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office had previously claimed, after some reports appeared in media outlets such as Cumhuriyet, that the phone calls were between military officers and smugglers, not IS members.
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