Since 2012, political observers has been questioning Turkey’s relationship with al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist terrorist organizations.
Three interesting developments related to this took place in last 10 days. First, a suicide bomber attacked the İstanbul police. It was revealed that the suicide attacker came from Russia and is affiliated with an Islamic terrorist organization. Interestingly enough, the Turkish police, for the first time in its history, did not reveal the name of the terrorist organization. Three people were arrested for their connection to the attack, but no one knows who they are and what terrorist organizations they belong to.
Those who know how the police work and how counter-terrorism operations are conducted easily noticed that a suicide attack is not a typical terrorist attack. If it was a typical terrorist attack, police would have revealed the name of the organization, shared further evidence, etc. Instead of revealing the truth behind the attack, the police tried to cover up the real story behind the attack.
More importantly, the Turkish media, too, ignored the attack and acts as if no attack took place in İstanbul. We all know from the Uludere incident in which 34 Kurdish villagers were killed by Turkish warplanes, when the Turkish media ignores a terror-related incident, one needs to know Ankara doesn’t want them to investigate the incident.
All in all, the suicide attack in İstanbul seems to be related to the Turkish intelligence community, not to a typical terrorist attack.
Secondly, an anonymous Twitter user claiming to be part of a leftist group shared some documents about Turkey’s assistance to al-Qaeda. The documents indicate that Turkey was transferring weapons to al-Qaeda organizations inside Syria. The documents show that the trucks stopped by gendarmes were full of Russian weapons and heading to al-Qaeda militants inside Syria.
Soon after the documents were leaked on Twitter, Turkish authorities stepped up and got court orders to shut down Twitter and other websites that posted the documents. Such attempts indicate that the documents showed the dirty secret of the Turkish government and made it unhappy.
The weapon transfer to al-Qaeda was much-debated by the Turkish public but for the first time documents prove the allegations about these bizarre relations. Turkish authorities, instead of denying the allegations and proving that they did not help al-Qaeda, tried to cover up the story by attempting to shut down Twitter and other websites that published the document.
Third and more importantly, a witness revealing the dirty secrets of Turkey came out this week. Onder Sığırcıklıoğlu, a former National Intelligence Organization (MİT) agent who was assigned to coordinate anti-Assad activities in Hatay, spoke out about his activities. While working for MİT, Sığırcıklıoğlu organized the handing over of the Syrian colonel Huseyin Hormoush to Assad’s forces.
Sığırcıklıoğlu claims that he has witnessed many illegal activates, including helping illegal groups, transferring arms from Libya to al-Qaeda and bringing jihadists from abroad to Syria.
It is interesting to note that UN inspectors were investigating allegations that the Turkish state was transferring arms from Libya to al-Qaeda; now a former MİT agent speaks out about it.
The documents that show that the Russian weapon systems being transferred into Syria must be related to those weapons brought from Libya.
Seeing all three incidents in the same week is unusual. It seems that there is a serious battle going on behind the curtain; certainly one side of the battle is Turkish intelligence community, but we don’t know the other side.
It could be a sign of rivalry within the state apparatus as well as rivalry between Turkey and other countries.
No matter what the real reason is, revealing Turkey’s dirty secret about al-Qaeda the week of the terrorist attacks in Paris shows that Turkey will face a difficult time for its support to al-Qaeda.