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October 20, 2014 Special Dispatch No. 5861

Turkish MPs Criticize Turkish President Erdogan's Pro-ISIS Policy

October 20, 2014
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 5861

On October 2, 2014, the Turkish parliament voted on a government motion to authorize cross-border military operations and to permit the U.S.-led international anti-Islamic State (ISIS) coalition forces to use Turkish military bases at a time and in a manner of the Turkish government's choosing.

However, the Turkish opposition and the media organs that remain in the opposition have been reporting on the actual policy of the AKP government and of former PM and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. These media organs and politicians from the main opposition party CHP are claiming that the Turkish government's main goal is to oust Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his government, to replace it with an Islamist regime like itself, and to eliminate the Kurdish militia in Syria, and that the AKP and ISIS are not enemies.

Even though the government passed the motion, the Turkish military, which is currently deployed along the Syria-Turkey border, has been passively watching ISIS's artillery and tank attacks on the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani, just over the border, as its outnumbered and outgunned Kurdish residents are dying in its defense.

The following are Turkish media reports claiming that the AKP has been aiding ISIS:

CHP Opposition Party Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu: "The AKP Aided And Supported ISIS; Turkey Must Intervene To Prevent Massacre In Kobani"

The leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, suggested on October 9, 2014, that the AKP must amend the October 2 motion and seek a parliamentary mandate to authorize the Turkish military to mobilize in neighboring Syria with the sole aim of attacking ISIS, and must rescue Kobani from the jihadis. He said: "The current mandate gives broad and vague authority for cross border operations into Iraq and Syria. Let's limit our army's ground operation to targeting ISIS, to rescuing Kobani and driving terrorists away from there. Let's definitely drop from the motion the article about allowing foreign soldiers to be stationed in our country. Instead, let's add a statement that we will provide cooperation for their air strikes. Within this framework, as the CHP, we would lend (the government) every support."

Kılıçdaroğlu, whose party had voted against the October 2 motion on the grounds that the motion brought to the parliament by the government was aimed not at broadening the struggle against terrorism, but against Syria itself, said: "We would support a motion on the struggle against the ISIS terrorist organization. This was also what the Western coalition was looking for. But this is not the motion that came to the Parliament. On the contrary, it is about fighting against Syria.

"We know of the clear aid and support that the AKP Government provides ISIS. We are giving arms, money and moral support to the very organization that wants to kill our own relatives there [i.e. in Kobani]. A terrorist organization must not be allowed to threaten our people and our people's relatives [in Syria]. Turkey must be ready to demonstrate its strength at the right time and the right place and must protect those who are harmed by ISIS. There cannot be a massacre there. If our neighbors and relatives are massacred and the AKP government watches it happening, they will pay a high price for this."[1]

CHP MP Faruk Logoglu: "The Vital Arteries Of ISIS" Are In Turkey; "Cleaning Up The Turkey Extension Of The ISIS Swamp Would Make Turkey The Most Effective Contributor To The Anti-ISIS Coalition"

In an October 2, 2014 speech at the Turkish parliament, CHP MP Faruk Logolu said that the AKP government was using ISIS as a cover, and that this was clear from the language of the justification for the motion that was passed that day. He said that Turkey should fight ISIS and all other terrorist organizations, and that his party would support this:

"Instead of joining or not joining any coalition against ISIS, Turkey must firstly execute an effective war against ISIS and all terrorist organizations within Turkey. Because the vital arteries of ISIS, which was born in Iraq, grew in Syria, and became an international problem, are in Turkey. By cutting all these arteries, Turkey can make the greatest contribution to the anti-ISIS coalition."

"Secondly, Turkey must include fighting the socio-economic conditions that give way to the rise of ISIS and other terrorist organizations as a dimension of its fight against terrorism. Turkey's borders must cease to be a transit way for terrorists. Turkish land must stop being a base for logistical support for these terrorist organizations, the activities of recruitment of sympathizers and resources by these organizations within Turkey must be prevented. In other words, cleaning up the Turkey extension of the ISIS swamp would make Turkey the most effective contributor to the anti-ISIS coalition."[2]

CHP MP Ihsan Ozkes: "ISIS Is The AKP's Illegitimate Child"

Following violent protests across Turkey, in which dozens of people were killed, against the government's failure to act against the ISIS attacks on Kobani, CHP MP Ihsan Ozkes said at an October 9. 2014 press conference: "The holy days were not holy. The AKP government turned the holidays into a large fire. ISIS continued with its savagery during the holy days of Eid... Blood is spilled by ISIS in Kobani, and by the AKP in Turkey. ISIS is a product of the AKP. ISIS is the AKP's illegitimate child."

He continued: "The AKP is managing all the finances. They had promised that the mothers would no longer cry. The AKP made mothers and fathers cry even during the holy days. Sixteen people [in Turkey] lost their lives, and dozens are injured. Curfews are declared in many provinces.

"The AKP cannot touch ISIS. The AKP has failed both in its domestic and foreign policies. The AKP government has regressed to its [Islamist] origins. Events are making it clear that AKP is unable to lead this country."[3]

Association For Libertarian Lawyers Files Complaint Against AKP Government For "Instigating ISIS To Kill"

According to media reports, on October 9, 2014, members of the Association for Libertarian Lawyers submitted a petition to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. Speaking to the Turkish press, association chairman Fırat Epözdemir said that his group had filed complaints against President Erdoğan, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and other government officials for, inter alia, "instigating ISIS to kill" and demanding that they should be tried under Articles 77 and 38 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The association's accusations against Erdoğan and the Turkish government include "instigating ISIS to eliminate an ethnic or religious group (i.e. Kurdish) partly or completely, as part of a plan, and incitement to kill or injure a community or deprive it of freedom as part of the same plan, for religious or political motives."

The association also accused the Turkish government of dispatching weapons to Islamist groups in Syria, citing as evidence the Turkish military police's interception, in January 2014, of numerous trucks en route from Turkey to Syria that were found to be carrying arms and ammunition. In panic, the government removed the prosecutor involved in the case, blocked further investigation, and brought a gag order to prevent media coverage of it.[4]

Turkish PM Davutoglu Accuses CHP Leader Of "Treason," Tells Him To "Shut Up"

On October 10, 2014, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lashed out at CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, accusing him of "treason" and telling him to "shut up." Speaking to reporters, Davutoglu commented on Kılıçdaroğlu's recent proposal for a new parliamentary motion allowing troops to be sent to Kobani with the clearly defined purpose of ridding it of ISIS. The prime minister said: "We do not need [Kılıçdaroğlu's] wisdom or ideas," and added, "On one hand he calls for calm, on the other accuses our government. This is irresponsibility and treason. No one can prove that we [i.e. the government] has aided ISIS."[5]

AKP Founder And Former Deputy Chairman Firat: "The Government Arms Extremist Groups, Including ISIS"

Speaking to the Turkish daily Taraf, AKP founder and former deputy chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat said that the Turkish government had armed extremist groups in Syria, including ISIS, and discussed recent developments regarding ISIS's attack on Kobani and the town's defense by Kurdish militia forces, as well as the Kurdish demonstrations in Turkey protesting against Turkey's failure to act to defend Kobani.

Firat argued that the issue of Kobani is important not only for the Kurds in Turkey, but for all Kurds all over the world. He said, referring to Kurdish protests in Turkey: "This uprising, that killed innocent civilians and several police officers, did not occur all of a sudden. Erdogan's remarks claiming that Kobani is about to fall, and that there is no difference between ISIS and the [outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party] PKK, were the straw that broke the camel's back."

Reiterating media reports, Firat said, "The government has allowed ISIS terrorists to be treated in Turkish hospitals. [Turkish] Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu also confirmed and defended the practice, saying that treating the wounded ISIS fighters is a humanitarian matter.

"However, when a Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Party) fighter's body was brought to Turkey, officials did not even allow him into a morgue. All this contributed to the Kurdish uprising in Turkey on behalf of Kobani."[6]

Pro-ISIS Demonstrations In Turkey

Demonstrations in support of ISIS are currently taking place in major cities and universities across Turkey, clashing with Kurds and their supporters.

Pro-ISIS demonstration in Istanbul, October 17, 2014: Signs say "USA Get Out!" and "Assad and Iran Supporters – As The USA Is Hitting [ISIS], Your Masks Are Falling – And Your Collaboration Is Proven."

Endnotes:

[1] Milliyet, Turkish Daily News, October 9, 2014.

[2] AA (Anatolia News Agency), Vatan (Turkish Daily), October 2, 2014.

[3] DHA (Dogan News Agency); Taraf (Turkish daily), October 9, 2014.

[4] Zaman, October 9, 2014.

[5] Zaman, October 10, 2014.

[6] Taraf daily, October 11, 2014; Zaman daily, October 12, 2014.

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