Tony Cartalucci, "Turkey: Bombing Its Way to a Better Narrative", New Eastern Outlook (18 January 2016)
A recent bombing in the Turkish city of Istanbul has left at least 10 dead and 15 injured. The government in Ankara was quick to blame the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh), claiming the bomber was “Syrian” and had crossed over from Syria into Turkey before carrying out the terrorist attack.
The Guardian would report in its article, “Deadly Istanbul blast ’caused by Isis suicide bomber’,” that:
“We have determined that the perpetrator of the attack is a foreigner who is a member of Daesh,” prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, using an Arabic acronym for Isis. “Turkey won’t backtrack in its struggle against Daesh by even one step … This terror organisation, the assailants and all of their connections will be found and they will receive the punishments they deserve.”
However, an overabundance of evidence during the past several years indicates that ISIS is in fact both an intentional creation and continuous perpetuation of foreign state-sponsors of terrorism, including Turkey itself.
TURKEY: ISIS’ SECOND HOME
Implicating Turkey as one of ISIS’ primary patrons is not done through mere insinuation or by referencing one or two obscure references. It starts with its closest allies among the NATO alliance it is a member of, and continues month after month, year after year, report after report from media organizations covering the conflict in Syria from every conceivable angle, both favorable and unfavorable for Ankara.
As early as 2012, a Department of Intelligence Agency (DIA) document [external PDF] admitted in regards to the Syrian conflict that:
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
Mention of this “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State) is clearly when it was decided to transform US, Saudi, and Turkish-backed Al Qaeda affiliates into ISIS. To clarify just who these “supporting powers” were, mentioned in the document who sought the creation of a “Salafist principality,” the DIA report explains (emphasis added):
The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
While the US and Saudi Arabia’s role in the creation of Al Qaeda in the 1980’s is well-known, and at least Saudi Arabia’s continued state-sponsorship of terrorism including Al Qaeda and ISIS is relatively well-known, what evidence is there that Turkey has been involved in directly supporting terrorism in Syria, and specifically, supporting ISIS itself?
It was also in 2012, that it would be admitted that the US, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia were supplying hundreds of tons of weapons, through Turkey with the aid of US intelligence agents along the border, to militants fighting in neighboring Syria. Logistical pipelines were created north of Aleppo and northeast of the commercially and culturally important city.
The New York Times in their 2013 article, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” would admit:
With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders. The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.
These logistical pipelines, over time, would morph into ISIS’ primary logistical corridors until first the Kurds cut them off to the northeast, and now Russian and Syrian forces are cutting them off to the north.
The Guardian, in an astonishingly titled June 2015 article, “Kurdish forces seize border town of Tal Abyad, cutting off key Isis supply line,” inadvertently admitted that the summation of ISIS’ supplies were originating in NATO-member Turkey’s territory, not from anywhere within Syria. It admitted that:
Kurdish fighters have taken control of the border town of Tal Abyad, dealing a significant blow to Islamic State’s ability to wage war in Syria by cutting off a supply line to its self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa.
It also reported that:
The takeover of the town marks the biggest setback yet for Isis and puts even more pressure on Raqqa by depriving the group of a direct route for bringing in foreign fighters and supplies, as well as linking the Kurds’ two fronts.
The Guardian never makes it entirely clear just how Raqqa in Syria was now suddenly cut off from its supply lines because of the takeover of Tal Abyad. A look at a map shows that Tal Abyad is literally on the Turkish-Syrian [border] leaving Turkey as the only possible source of ISIS’ supply lines.
The Guardian never explains this, possibly in hopes that its readers are disinterested or incapable of reading maps, because it would reveal that Turkey, a US and British ally, a NATO member since the 1950s, and allegedly a partner in the West’s “War on Terror,” was aiding and abetting, and in fact, serving as the primary source of ISIS’ fighting capacity while simultaneously feigning to fight the terrorist organization.
To understand the scale of Turkey’s support for ISIS, consider Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle’s (DW) 2014 report, “‘IS’ supply channels through Turkey.” It exposes fleets of hundreds of trucks a day, passing unchallenged through Turkey’s border crossings with Syria, clearly bound for the defacto ISIS capital of Raqqa. DW reported that:
Every day, trucks laden with food, clothing, and other supplies cross the border from Turkey to Syria. It is unclear who is picking up the goods. The haulers believe most of the cargo is going to the “Islamic State” militia. Oil, weapons, and soldiers are also being smuggled over the border, and Kurdish volunteers are now patrolling the area in a bid to stem the supplies.
Despite the report in 2014, and the obvious setback reported by the Western media when Kurds finally closed down at least one of two major ISIS supply corridors originating in Turkey in 2015, the Western media has still attempted to portray Turkey as at war with ISIS, rather than one of its primary state-sponsors.
IF TURKEY CREATED AND STILL PERPETUATES ISIS, WHY THE BOMBING?
It is perhaps this need to portray Turkey at war with ISIS that leads us back to the deadly attack in Istanbul and other recent bombings like it attributed to “ISIS.” If ISIS appears to be carrying out terrorist attacks in Turkey – Ankara, Washington, and Wall Street reason – few will suspect Turkey is in fact one of the primary state-sponsors perpetuating ISIS’ continued existence in Syria.
If anyone questions Turkey’s willingness to self-inflict egregious terrorist attacks upon its own people within its own borders, one needs only study NATO’s extensive, decades-long operation of its various stay behind networks – including Turkey’s “Grey Wolves” terrorist organization that killed thousands in political violence and terrorism both within Turkey’s borders and well beyond them.
To this day, the Grey Wolves remain engaged in violence, having attacked very publicly the Thai consulate in Istanbul, and having been linked to both terrorism in China’s Xinjiang region as well as having been implicated in a 2015 blast that rocked Bangkok and killed 20 people.
Considering the hundreds of supply trucks a day departing Turkey, bound for ISIS’ defacto capital in Raqqa, and fleets of tankers filled with looted Syrian oil entering back into Turkey forming the cornerstone of ISIS’ logistical and financial networks, it is clear that if Raqqa is the heart of ISIS, Turkey’s role in running ISIS logistics serves as the arteries feeding that heart with the blood it needs to continue beating.
If Turkey is blaming ISIS for the recent attack in Istanbul, then it is clear that it is in turn implicating itself. When asking why it would do that, the simplest answer stands to reason – because if people believe ISIS is attacking Turkey, they are less likely to believe Turkey is in fact backing ISIS. And as long as this charade can continue convincingly, that backing can continue until the goal of destroying Syria is achieved.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
Image: "Flag of Turkey" by David Benbennick (original author) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons