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    Shot with an extreme telephoto lens and through haze from the outskirts of Suruc at the Turkey-Syria border, militants with the Islamic State group are seen after placing their group's flag on a hilltop at the eastern side of the town of Kobani, Syria (File)

    Turkish Opposition MP to Sputnik: Docs Confirm Govt's Connivance with Daesh

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    Erem Erdem, the opposition politician who gave the media records of tapped phone calls showing the Turkish intelligence services' passive attitudes toward Daesh-affiliated criminals, tells Sputnik that this is a scandal of national proportions.

    Last week, Erdem, an MP from the Republican People's Party, presented journalists with a damning, 422-page document featuring the records of tapped phone calls of Daesh-affiliated criminals on Turkish territory.

    Speaking to Sputnik Turkey about the records, the politician emphasized that this is a scandal of national proportions.

    "These phone records are cause for a scandal of national proportions, since they contain information about the illegal movement of nearly 1,500 people across the Turkish-Syrian border in groups of 5-10 people each. And despite the availability of this information, the security services did nothing to stop the process," Erdem said.

    "About 70-80% of the fighters who crossed the Syrian border return to Turkey. They include [Ilhami Bali] the man who organized the attacks in Suruc and Ankara." Bali is one of the Daesh-affiliated criminal figures whose phone was tapped, and officially has a reward of 4 million Turkish lira (about $1.3 million US) on his head.

    "The telephone conversations reflected by the documents show in the most detailed manner possible where the jihadists recruit 'candidates', where they will be awaited, and where at the border they will cross into Syria."

    At the same time, Erdem said, "when one reads the documents, what catches the eye is that the terrorist reveals by phone his whereabouts, the name the hotel where he is staying, etc., but the security forces do not send people to the hotel to detain him. Under normal circumstances, he would have to be taken into custody as soon as possible, because it's absolutely clear that he has already joined Daesh, or is planning to do so. These individuals carry machine guns, flame throwers, Kalashnikovs across the border. They freely speak to one another by phone, and these phones are tapped, but nothing is done to detain them."

    According to the politician, the main question that arises on his mind is "why didn't the security services intervene in this process?"

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    © Sputnik / Vitaly Podvitski
    Late last week, Sputnik reported that four wounded Daesh fighters had been treated at a hospital in southern Turkey, citing a local medical worker.

    Speaking to Sputnik, Erdem noted that the phone taps too confirm the jihadists' use of Turkish hospitals, which indicates that Turkish intelligence knows about it. "The documents…contain information about the medical treatment of terrorists on Turkish territory. For example, there are records of telephone conversations in which militants report on how many militants much be sent to which hospital."

    "Terrorists receive treatment in hospital, after which the head of the group asks about the cost of the treatment. He is told 'We paid the hospital $18,000.' In response, the commander says 'You overpaid. You should have found a hospital with better prices.' In short, the terrorists are satisfying their needs, using Turkey as if it were one big shopping and wellness center."

    In addition to Ilhami Bali, the wiretap records also mention Ebu Hanzala, a Turkish jihadi recently released from prison believed to be one of the main organizers of Daesh activities in Turkey. "Militants' conversations contain information about how Abu Hanzalah led efforts to recruit fighters in the Turkish province of Urfa, and oversaw the creation of training camps for the jihadists. And this man was released from prison not long ago."

    "What else can this be called if not clear evidence of the authorities' complicity and cooperation with the Daesh militants? If the government did not cooperate with Daesh, the security forces would have carried out a series of operations and arrested at least a couple of the militants. Meanwhile, [in reality] it has not detained any members of the terrorist organization – not one."

    All this is made worse by the desperate political and social situation in Turkey today, Erdem said. "In Turkey today, any person handing out leaflets on the street, or who signs the petition of the academics, can be accused of terrorism; and yet, the real terrorists continue to freely carry out their activities."

    Ultimately, the politician emphasized that "it's necessary to call a spade a spade. This is a betrayal of humanity; it is a betrayal to support  the Daesh terrorists, to turn a blind eye to their murderous activities."

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    Tags:
    interview, security service, security forces, Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkish government, Daesh, Erem Erdem, Turkey
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