CHP lawmakers accuse Turkish government of 'protecting ISIL and al-Nusra militants'

CHP lawmakers accuse Turkish government of 'protecting ISIL and al-Nusra militants'

CHP lawmakers accuse Turkish government of protecting ISIL and al-Nusra militants

This photograph shows ISIL commander Abu Muhammad, April 16, 2014, allegedly receiving free treatment in Hatay State Hospital after being injured during fighting in Idlib, Syria.

Two lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have accused the government of protecting and cooperating with jihadist militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the al-Nusra Front, while the Turkish government quickly denied the claim.

CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Head Muharrem İnce has asked for explanations of a photograph showing ISIL commander Abu Muhammad allegedly receiving free treatment in Hatay State Hospital on April 16, 2014, after being injured during fighting in Idlib, Syria. The photograph circulated widely on the Internet following ISIL’s assault on Mosul June 9.

“If we keep silent now, it is to let the government work more comfortably in this situation and prevent our people, our flag and our country from being harmed. But we will talk about the point to where wrong policies have dragged our country and what kind of trouble have all those whom they have fed, treated and assisted brought us,” İnce said at Parliament in Ankara on June 12.

He also said the visits carried out on the same day by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to opposition leaders were not enough. “He should also come and inform Parliament,” İnce said.

 ‘Militants stayed at religious body’s guest houses’

Meanwhile, CHP Istanbul deputy İhsan Özkes claimed militants of the al-Qaeda splinter group the al-Nusra Front were allowed to stay at the guesthouses of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) under the monitoring of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in the southern province of Hatay.

Özkes, a former mufti, also claimed the order to host the militants was given by former Interior Minister Muammer Güler in a circular sent to the Hatay Governor’s Office, which openly demanded assistance to al-Nusra fighters.

The allegedly official document shown by Özkes reveals that al-Nusra fighters were brought by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in order to fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria.

“It is important to provide the necessary support for the intelligence officers on the issue of assisting the fighters of al-Nusra, including Tunisians and Chechens, who have been brought [here] under the supervision of the MİT to fight against the PKK-affiliated PYD, crossing the borders to Syria and complying with the confidentiality of the matter,” the document reads.

“The province of Hatay has strategic importance in the crossing of fighters from our country’s borders to Syria. The logistics supply to Islamic groups, their training and the treatment of the injured will mostly be carried out from there. The MİT and other relevant authorities have been tasked on the issue,” it also said.

Özkes also accused the government of sending charity money collected by Diaynet to the Islamist fighters. “Have those who fought been sheltered in the Quran classes and dormitories belonging to Diyanet? Is there an Interior Ministry circular that was sent to Diyanet on the issue?” he asked.

'Turkey hasn't become a target'

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç denied the allegations during his press conference on June 13. 

"Has Turkey provided any weapons or financial aid? Absolutely not, and the whole world knows this," Arınç said.

Arınç also said that the latest incident does not mean that Turkey has become a target.

The debate was sparked after the ISIL militants took 49 workers of Turkey’s Mosul Consulate and 31 Turkish truck drivers hostages after seizing Iraq’s second biggest city, Mosul.