ISIS commander treated in Turkish hospital ‘like all other citizens’

Reuters / Serkan Senturk
Authorities in Turkey have confirmed social media reports that an injured Islamic State commander is being treated in a Denizli hospital, saying the militant has every right to receive medical care as he is a Turkish citizen.

The man, identified as Emrah Cakan, has reportedly been recovering in a hospital in Denizli in southwestern Turkey since February 28.

He was among 1,000 Turks, who joined the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), and quickly rose to the rank of a senior commander.

Cakan’s treatment “was started upon his own application,” the Denizli governor's office said in a statement.

“The procedural acts concerning his injury were conducted by our border city during his entry to our country and they still continue. And his treatment continues as a part of his right to benefit from health services just like all our citizens,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Kurds, who have been fighting IS for the strategic city of Kobani on the Turkish-Syrian border since September, don’t seem to be as welcome in Turkey’s medical institutions as Islamic State militants.

The International Business Times reported the story of medical student, Esra Yakar, who went to Kobani to treat the wounded in December and received serious head injuries in a jihadist attack.

On her return to Turkey, the young woman was bounced around between hospitals, which led to her losing an eye.

After Yakar was finally hospitalized in Ankara, the police arrested her on terrorism charges.

She was released from prison on Thursday due to poor health, but will still stand trial on April 30.

READ MORE: ISIS attack on Kobani comes from Turkey – Kurds

Turkish Medical Association council member, Seyhmus Gokalp, called Yakar’s arrest an inhumane act, expressing regret that “providing civilian people in Kobani with health services” is considered a crime in his country.

Ankara has been condemned by its NATO allies, including the US and EU, for the lack of desire to join the international effort against the so-called Islamic State, and doing little to prevent militants crossing into Syria and Iraq from Turkey’s territory.

There is "an open-door policy to jihadists in Turkey. So much so that the flight from Istanbul to Gaziantep has been called 'the jihad express',” Marc Pierini, former European Union ambassador to Turkey, is cited as saying by the International Business Times.

READ MORE: 3,000 ISIS infiltrators may enter Turkey, plan to attack diplomatic targets – report

Turkish intelligence agencies issued a warning in early February that 3,000 IS militants in the country are preparing terrorist attacks against embassies of the member states of US-led coalition in Ankara, according to the Taraf newspaper.

Ankara refrains from aiding those defending Kobani, due to fears the increased Kurdish military might boost their ambitions for an independent state.

The Kurds have no country of their own, with the Kurdistan region spanning adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

Also, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used to back the Islamist rebels fighting to topple his Syrian counterpart and strategic rival, Bashar Assad.