Turkey remains a jihadist highway - analyst

Turkey remains a transit hub for people aiming to join jihadi fighter groups, despite the Turkish government’s recent escalated efforts to capture members of the Islamist State (ISIS) both in Turkey and Syria, said analyst Burak Bekdil on Friday. 

Turkey’s recent crackdown against ISIS is “good news, but it is hardly the only news,” Bekdil said in an article he penned for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. 

Before a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in November, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey had captured the wife of ISIS’s slain leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after the Turkish police detained 43 suspected ISIS terrorists in Turkey a week ago. 

But a U.S. Treasury blacklist in September showed that Turkey has become a haven for terror financing schemes, while the Washington Examiner reported that the survivors of a 2015 terrorist attack in the West Bank filed a lawsuit against a bank with ties to the Turkish government, accusing the lender of supporting the terrorist group Hamas.

The annual U.S. State Department country report on terrorism released on Nov. 4 shows that Turkey is still a transit point for foreign fighters looking to join ISIS, Bekdil said. 

On Oct. 23, the U.S. State Department announced that more than 100 ISIS prisoners had escaped since Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria earlier in the month.

Bekdil also referred to an Egyptian television news program broadcast on Nov. 14 which reported on an incriminating leaked tape. 

“Today’s leak confirms without a doubt that Erdoğan, his state, his government, and his party are transferring weapons from Turkey to – this is a shock, to where you may ask – to Nigeria; and to whom? – to the Boko Haram (terrorist) organisation,” said Nasha’t al-Deyhi, the host at Egypt’s Ten.tv news program, according to Bekdil.

“With friends like Erdoğan, Trump’s America will not need enemies,” Bekdil said. 

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