World Bulletin / News Desk
During an official visit to Italy, Turkish president Abdullah Gul was asked about an accusation by the Israeli defense forces which suggested that Turkey was hosting a number of Al-Qaeda bases in the country. Responding to this, President Gul said ‘This is an accusation against Turkey,’ before saying that it was a cheap attempt on Israel’s half to hide their own mistakes.
The Al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been fighting other opposition groups in northern Syria and have attacked Syrian Turkmen villages along the Turkish border. The non-Al-Qaeda aligned Islamic Front has been fighting against ISIL, who it accuses of kidnapping, torturing and killing its men.
Army of Islam commander and co-founder of the Islamic Front, Muhammad Zehran Alloush, who leads a 25,000-strong brigade based in the Damascus suburbs, claimed that ISIL had been infiltrated by Bashar al-Assad’s supporters, further confirming Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s past comments that ISIL and the Assad regime were ‘backstage partners.’
Speaking to Al Jazeera Turk, Army of the Mujahidin commander, Muhammad Bakur, also called on ISIL commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to pull out of Syria, saying that they had left his brigade no other choice but to fight them after ISIL forces killed 70 of his men in Etarib.
Bakur, a former Syrian army officer who defected, criticized ISIL, saying that all they do is threaten to behead their rivals. ‘The ISIL have committed such vicious acts that Islamic history will always condemn them,’ he said.
Even Al-Qaeda head Ayman Zawahiri has ordered ISIL out of Syria, but his call has seemingly fallen on deaf ears. Abu Qatada, who was deported from the UK to his native Jordan after being called ‘Al-Qaeda’s man in Britain’, also reiterated Zawahiri’s orders and accused ISIL of waging a way that was ‘not holy’.
All this in-fighting, of course, has only strengthened the position of Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad. Returning from Italy, Turkish president Abdullah Gul played down this week’s Geneva II peace talks and said that the regime currently has the upper-hand. ‘The next aspect we need to focus on are the threats and risks for Turkey that are being created in the environment that has emerged. Many groups have emerged in this uncertain environment,’ he said, referring to the ISIL threat.
‘Our regional perception of the threat of today and that of four or five years ago are very different. The biggest threat of that time was the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) terror. Today, we look and see many groups in this environment. We all need to be more careful today. I want to say that our southern border has become more difficult,’ he added.
Abdullah Gul also did not rule out the possibility of Turkish intervention in Syria. ‘If our Armed Forces choose not to interfere today, maybe tomorrow it will have to face a force it cannot manage. For this reason, you need to let professionals deal with this,’ he said.
On January 28, Turkish border forces engaged ISIL fighters on the Syrian side of the border in battle, hitting a number of targets.
According to Hurriyet Daily News, the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT) presented the Turkish government a report indicating that the ISIL posed more of a threat to Turkey than Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, with the ISIL planning to explode car bombs in Turkey and conduct a number of assassinations.Last Mod: 02 Şubat 2014, 09:30