Three sons of Turkish professor join ISIL

Three sons of Turkish professor join ISIL

Fevzi Kızılkoyun - ANKARA
Three sons of Turkish professor join ISIL

Before they crossed the border, Süleyman Bengi İ., the eldest of the three brothers, shared pro-ISIL material on his Facebook account. "I will come to disturb your gods," one visual he shared reads.

Three sons of an assistant professor at a Turkish university have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Hürriyet has learned.

The assistant professor, whom Hürriyet identifies only as M. Şefik İ. to avoid possible repercussions that may risk his safety, has appealed to the government for help, but security forces determined that his sons have already crossed to Syria. 

According to the investigation, 19-year-old Hacettepe University student Süleyman Bengi İ. led his 16-year-old twin brothers, Dilar and Dilşat, in their venture to join ISIL. After crossing Turkey’s border with Syria, the three teenagers continued to Iraq to join the ranks of ISIL there, Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) revealed.

“We have found peace here, don’t worry about us,” Süleyman Bengi İ. sent in a message to his family after they crossed the border.

The family, on the other hand, have called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, the MİT and the police to bring their sons back to Turkey. 

‘Promised Heaven’

Turkish authorities continue diplomatic efforts to bring back the three brothers who are still in an ISIL-controlled area of Iraq. Meanwhile, police and intelligence officers are investigating whom Süleyman Bengi İ. contacted in Ankara to cross the border.

Before leaving his dorm in Ankara, Süleyman Bengi İ., a dentist candidate, left a note for his family, urging his mother to distribute the belongings he left behind to the poor. 

Those who know him told Hürriyet he was a successful student who was radicalized after he started to visit Islamist bookstores. The change in his personality became more dramatic after he read a book titled “Promised Heaven,” which he also distributed to his friends.

Three sons of Turkish professor join ISIL

A billboard poster prepared by the family says that Süleyman Bengi went missing in Ankara, while his brothers went missing in Diyarbakır, on March 10.

Dire situation in numbers

A Hürriyet investigation in September 2014 revealed a number of Islamic associations and bookstores which had popped up across Turkey had become one of the main recruiting tools of ISIL in the country. 

Turkish intelligence recently sent a report to Turkey’s associations watchdog, determining that seven associations and foundations should be scrutinized for their suspicious activities.

So far 2,307 Turkish citizens have joined ISIL, according to official figures, with some 700 more linked to the group. Around 1,500 of them still live in the ISIL-controlled areas of Syria and Iraq and most of them are fighting in the ranks of the jihadists.

In 2014 and the first three months of 2015, 680 families in Turkey reported their children went missing to join ISIL. 

Officials say 11 Turks have died so far while fighting for the group.