Ankara, May 14 (IANS) Thousands of IS associates have been routinely crossing into Syria aided by contacts in Turkey, phone calls tapped by Ankara security forces and handed to the media by opposition lawmaker Erem Erdem reveal. He accuses the government of a massive cover-up.
Transcribed phone recordings belonging to Ilhami Bali, well known in Islamic State ranks and suspected of staging high-profile bomb attacks in Ankara and the mainly Kurdish border city of Suruc, detail the lack of control along the Syrian Turkish border.
Pressured by the international community to impose stricter border controls to stem the flood of militants into Syria, Ankara has been erecting walls at key crossing points, but to no avail as surveillance data from the Municipality of Ankara Provincial Security Department revealed.
The transcripts of the recordings, according to RT online, were passed on to the media by Turkish opposition politician Eren Erdem of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), who was facing a witch-hunt from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government over his repeated allegations of massive cover-up of IS activity on Turkish soil.
While daily logs by the Turkish Armed Forces reveal that Turkish security forces apprehended 961 IS members from 57 countries in 2015, the alleged reality exposed by the Erdem leak, shows that thousands of IS fighters and their family members cross the Turkish border from Syria on a daily basis. But even those who get arrested on the Turkish side are often released at the crossing points.
Several documents suggest that IS coordinators helped some 1,400 people cross the Turkish border from September 22 – October 17. In one of the phone conversations, Ilhami Bali asked his interlocutor named Erkek, who according to the conversations helps smuggle people, the exact number of persons he has helped cross the border.