Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, contrary to the initial stated policies of his Justice and Development Party («Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi» or AKP), is not a moderate Muslim. Erdogan is slowly turning his nation into an Islamist revivalist entity mirroring the Ottoman Empire. In fact, Erdogan’s personal amassing of wealth and his building of an opulent presidential palace in Ankara is also reminiscent of the old Seljuk Muslim emperors. Erdogan seems to relish in Turkey’s imperialist past in every fashion imaginable.
Erdogan’s newly-found wealth is courtesy of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has used Turkish middlemen to peddle their oil from Syria and Iraq to other countries through Turkey. One of these Turkish middlemen is reportedly Erdogan’s son Necmettin Bilal Erdogan. The U.S. Treasury Department estimates that ISIL realizes $1 million a day from illicit oil sales on the world’s petroleum spot market with Erdogan’s family cronies receiving a healthy portion of the ISIL oil proceeds.
The Turkish media has published photographs of the Harvard-educated Bilal Erdogan having dinner in an Istanbul restaurant with a notorious ISIL guerrilla leader who has been responsible for genocidal acts in Homs and Western Kurdistan in northeastern Syria. Bilal Erdogan is in the right business for illegally shipping oil on behalf of ISIL. He is one of three equal shareholders in «BMZ Group Denizcilik ve İnşaat Sanayi Anonim Şirketi», a marine shipping company.
There is little doubt that Erdogan has been using ISIL to battle his many enemies – all of whom stand opposed to Erdogan’s Islamist and jihadist policies. Erdogan, through ISIL and its surrogates, including the Al Nusra Front and the Khorasan Group, has taken on Syria’s secular government of President Bashar al Assad; Kurdish groups in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq; Shi’as and Christian Armenians and Greeks in Lebanon; and the Shi’a government of Iraq. Erdogan has facilitated the crossing of ISIL commando units into Iran and he continues to back Muslim Brotherhood factions in Egypt and Salafist brigades in Libya.
Yet, Erdogan, who has also permitted the infiltration into Europe of ISIL terrorists, masquerading as refugees from Syria, relies on the protection of NATO’s mutual defense umbrella. With the military insurance policy provided by NATO, Erdogan has been emboldened to use ISIL and its affiliates as proxies for Turkey’s greater aims: the establishment of a Turkish-dominated Islamist bloc from Morocco to western China – the goal of every Ottoman and Seljuk emperor.
One of the financial players involved in supporting Al Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Yasin al Qadi, a Saudi national, has been given unhindered free passage through Turkey by Erdogan. Between February and October 2012, al Qadi entered Turkey four times even though he was subject to a United Nations Security Council travel ban. Turkish and Saudi pressure saw the UN remove al Qadi from the travel ban list after his fourth trip to Turkey in October 2012.
While Erdogan has publicly stated that he is a partner of the United States and NATO against ISIL, the facts on the ground speak for themselves. Erdogan’s military operations against ISIL have actually been a vicious campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey and the Syrian Kurdish PYD/YPG (Democratic Union Party) group in northeastern Syria. Erdogan has never had any desire to wage a war against ISIL, when, in fact, ISIL has committed egregious genocidal warfare against Kurds in Syria and Iraq.
The U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) has pointed out that Turkey is the favored route for ISIL terrorists to transfer to and from Syria. A CRS report, dated October 5, 2015, states: «Congress and other U.S. policymakers, along with many international actors, have shown significant concern about the use of Turkish territory by various groups and individuals involved in Syria’s conflict—including foreign fighters from around the world—for transit, safe haven, and smuggling». The report quotes February 2015 congressional testimony from National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Director Nicholas Rasmussen: «Violent extremists take different routes, including land, air and sea. Most routes do involve transit through Turkey because of its geographic proximity to the Syrian border areas where most of these groups operate».
Rasmussen, in the same Congressional testimony, took aim at Erdogan’s support for terrorists in Syria: «Turkey will always look at its interests through the prism of their own sense of self-interest, and how they prioritize particular requests that we make for cooperation doesn’t always align with our prioritization». Turkey’s «self-interest» is to promote jihadism and pan-Turkic Islamist ideology at the expense of the political stability of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Yemen, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Morocco.
Erdogan has also called Turkey’s Alevi minority, who are affiliated with the Syrian Alawites, have old links to Shi’a and Sufi Islam, and adhere to pre-Islamic Anatolian and Christian religious beliefs, traitors to the Turkish state. The U.S. State Department summed up Erdogan’s policies toward the Alevis in its Religious Freedom Report for 2013: «The government considers Alevism a heterodox Muslim sect and does not financially support religious worship for Alevi Muslims». The head of the secular Republican People’s Party of Turkey (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, is an Alevi Muslim and he has supported the Assad government in Syria against its enemies. Erdogan has called Kılıçdaroğlu a traitor to Turkey.
Erdogan showed his commitment to ISIL terrorism when, after ISIL bombed a Russian Metrojet (Kogalymavia) Airbus enroute from Sharm el Sheikh to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 passengers and crew, he told Dubai TV, «The Russian airplanes are targeting Mujahidin in Syria and partisans fighting to topple Syrian dictator Assad. In Syria, Moscow seeks to tip the balance on the ground against ‘our brethren.’ Consequently, there should be no surprise if Islamic State take revenge». Erdogan added, «How can I condemn the Islamic State for shooting down a Russian plane as its passengers were returning from a happy vacation in a time when our co-religionists in Syria are bombed by Putin's fighter jets?.. it is the natural outcome of Moscow's actions in Syria and the support for Assad». Erdogan has even more reasons to support terrorist attacks on Egyptian soil. He continues to support the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its imprisoned former Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi. Russia supports Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
In other words, Erdogan, less than a day after the terrorist murder of Russian citizens, including women and children, could not wait to laud ISIL and its Sinai affiliate, «Ansar Bait al-Maqdis», for targeting Metrojet flight 9268 on October 31, 2015. More outrageously, the United States and NATO supports the terrorism of Erdogan, which was once again displayed, when Turkish-supported Syrian Turkoman guerrillas operating under the NATO-supported «Free Syrian Army,» shot at parachuting Russian Air Force Sukhoi-24 crewmen after their aircraft was shot out of the sky by Turkish F-16 interceptors.
These same jihadist Turkoman units fired a U.S.-supplied TOW missile at a Russian Marine search-and-rescue helicopter to save their downed pilots. One Russian pilot and a search-and-rescue Marine were killed in what constituted a Turkish-sanctioned violation of the Geneva Conventions on Warfare. It is Erdogan and his government that represent a true terrorist and jihadist state and they seem intent on keeping up with the Saudis and Qataris in state-sponsored support for terrorism.