‘Turkey paying price for creating ISIS monster it can no longer control’
Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala said Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is linked to Saturday's terror attack in Istanbul. The suicide bomber, who carried out the atrocity killing four, has been identified as Mehmet Ozturk. The incident happened in a crowded tourist shopping area killing people from a number of different countries.
RT: Turkey confirmed it thinks ISIS is behind the bombing in Istanbul? Was this expected?
Roula Talj: Of course it was expected. When you look at the number of ISIS members who entered Syria in the last few years, and then you see that the number of Turkish members went up to 25,500 fighters, you cannot expect to train a monster like this in Turkey and expect to use it against your enemies alone. One should expect that ISIS would turn against the regime in Ankara and in Turkey at some point.
RT: Why is Turkey becoming an ISIL target, and how do you expect Ankara to react?
RTj: Maybe Ankara is under pressure now from the Western community, especially the Europeans who are concerned about the amount of ISIS members trying to escape, or to take over Europe from Turkey. So probably they are under pressure and this is the response of ISIL to put pressure on Ankara. Maybe the worst has started between the Turks themselves and ISIS, and this is coming to the surface now.
RT: Turkey's been accused of both supporting ISIL by allegedly buying the terrorists’ oil, but also being part of the anti-ISIL coalition. Do you think Turkey's anti-ISIL efforts are genuine?
RTj: No, I don’t think so. It is known to everyone that the major ISIS training camps were in Turkey. Turkey’s intelligence knew very much [about] the number of ISIS members crossing to Syria and to other borders from Turkey. So, if they were genuine, they would have done something about it a while ago.
I think Turkey was using ISIS in its proxy war in Syria, and at some point it came under the pressure of Europeans and the international community, who is not going to make it easy anymore on those sponsoring ISIS and other extremist groups in the region, because it is no longer about Syria, it is about the entire world security. So Turkey now is paying the price of playing with a devil and creating a monster that it cannot control anymore. ISIS doesn’t need Turkey or anybody, they are self-sustainable. When Turkey was buying the oil from ISIL, it knew very well that was a way… to finance ISIL.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.