An ISIL flag flies over the custom office of Syria’s Jarabulus border gate as it is pictured, on Aug. 1, from the Turkish town of Karkamış. (Photo: Reuters)
August 09, 2015, Sunday/ 16:17:58/ TODAY’S ZAMAN / ISTANBUL
In a recent report, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has claimed that ambulances are routinely used in the southeastern province of Adıyaman to carry injured Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants from Syria to Turkey and to transport new ISIL recruits across the border into Syria.
A delegation of CHP deputies and party members who visited Adıyaman found that many locals recruited by ISIL cross into Syria by bribing border guards as little as TL 20 and the police, the Prime Ministry and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) turn a blind eye to reports of illegal activities along the border.
The report also alleged that some coffee houses in the city are being used as contact points for ISIL, as well a number of mosques. “Many ISIL militants who come from Syria are allowed to propagate ISIL’s ideology, especially in Maraşlılar Mosque and Fatih Mosque. It is understood that the imams of these mosques turn a blind eye to the illegal activities of ISIL militants. Moreover, some families who complained about ISIL’s recruitment activities and warned one of these imams were asked not to get involved in such issues, with one of the imams saying: ‘They [ISIL recruiters] came from abroad. The [Turkish] government has allowed them. They may leave soon.’”
Furthermore, according to the report, some of the young people who have been indoctrinated by ISIL militants put pressure on their mothers to wear a chador when leaving the house and force their fathers not to pray in state-run mosques, the report said.
The report — which was based on the delegation’s observations in Adıyaman — also found that many young men who have been recruited by ISIL first go to Syria and then return to the city several months later. After spending some time in the city, they again leave for Syria to fight for ISIL. In addition, although many families whose children have joined ISIL have informed the security forces, their complaints and calls for help have fallen on deaf ears and no initiative to stop ISIL’s activities has been launched to date, the report emphasized.
The second part of the report detailed meetings and conversations with local people about ISIL’s activities in the city and claimed that members of civil society groups, including a number of Alevi organizations, have complained that despite ISIL recruiting publicly, no security measures have been taken to prevent these activities.
Some Alevis even said that they are afraid to attend marriage ceremonies due to the ISIL threat, claiming that the number of Alevis who regularly go to cemevis (Alevi places of worship) has declined sharply because of this threat. In some villages, Alevis are constantly on guard due to fears of a possible ISIL attack on their community, according to the report.
The report also mentioned a meeting with Adıyaman Chief Public Prosecutor Ali Ulvi Yılmaz, who said that there has not been a single arrest of anyone linked to ISIL. Yılmaz said that warrants for the arrest of 15 people had been issued and an investigation is under way against a number of other suspects, but is only at the stage of collecting evidence.
Another allegation mentioned in the report is that when Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu met a family whose son went with his wife to Syria to fight for ISIL recently, Davutoğlu responded by saying: “At least they went together. They can support each other out there.”
Top gov’t religious body publishes report on ISIL
The Religious Affairs Directorate also published a report on Friday about ISIL and warned that the terrorist organization is negatively affecting perceptions of Islam.
The report said that ISIL uses social media networks to recruit new fighters by focusing on concepts unique to Islam such as jihad and ideas about heaven and hell to indoctrinate young men. The religious body underlined that the killing of innocent people, especially women and children, is against the essence of Islam and its teaching.
“This armed illegal group that calls itself ISIL is killing innocent people who do not support it and who have different beliefs and religions, which is in violation of the principles of Islamic and international law. This is simply terrorism and people who commit these offenses are terrorists. Islam forbids the killing of women and children, even during a war. When an enemy soldier is taken captive, he cannot be beheaded or killed. This has no place in Islam and never has,” the report emphasized.
ISIL came to public attention in 2011 after the civil war broke out in Syria, when many separatist groups including ISIL began efforts to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with the support of a number of Western powers. The group executes anyone who does not support its ideology, including Western journalists and human rights activists. Turkey and a number of Arab countries have been accused of providing logistical and financial support and weapons to ISIL.