ISIS fighters in Ankara continue living double lives in troubled Hacibayram as they travel in and out Syria, whilst the government turns a blind eye to propaganda in broad daylight
By Dogu Eroglu.
During his 2-day Ankara visit in December 2014, UK Prime Minister David Cameron underlined Turkey and UK’s “shared view” against terrorism, despite diplomatic circles in the Turkish capital suggested otherwise. Cameron in fact was frustrated and furious at Turkey for swapping 180 ISIS fighters –in which there were 2 British jihadists amongst– in return for 59 Turkish diplomats captured at ISIS’ raid to Turkish Embassy in Mosul in June 11.
At the joint press conference held after that meeting, former minister of foreign affairs, now PM Davutoglu enunciated bold claims: “Our stance against international terrorism, regardless of its location, is clear. We are unanimous with PM Cameron on many matters.” Yet, it appears that providing logistic support to armed groups is not amongst the issues they share the same opinion on, considering ceaseless and abiding rumors Turkey supplying arms and ammunition, and have been providing shelter and medical care for Free Syrian Army, Jabhat al-Nusra, factions of the Islamic Front, and ISIS, in chronological order.
When it comes to turning a blind eye to ISIS activities in Turkey, the infamous recruitment spot Hacibayram in Ankara is no exception. After a series of publications across national newspapers raised alarms over religious extremism in the capital of Turkey, government criticized and snubbed the reports, until NYT (The New York Times) decided to visit the neighborhood, looking for material evidence supporting the rumors. Though the field research hardly provided indisputable evidence but testimonies from ordinary community dwellers and ISIS sympathizers, seeing the piece appeared on NYT was more than enough for Turkey President Erdogan to lose his temper.
The story was first published online with a photo, showing President Erdogan and PM Davutoglu leaving the Hacibayram Mosque, which the famous ISIS recruitment neighborhood had also been called after. Nevertheless, the widely criticized –even unethical for some– preference of NYT editorial board allowed Erdogan to manipulate the public. Despite NYT has admitted that particular photo, reverberated across the world, “was published in error,” the debate continued on a more personal level after Erdogan slammed the report, and denounced the reporter as “shameless.” Eventually, another typical discussion sprung up. Once again, another crisis regarding press freedom standards in Turkey unveiled, while ISIS involvement in Turkish capital seemed to be forgotten.
See more… dogueroglu.com