Special to WorldTribune.com
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is sponsoring Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), using the terror group as a “geopolitical tool to expand Turkey’s regional influence and sideline his political opponents at home, a former top Turkish counter-terror official said.
Ahmet Sait Yayla, in interviews with a crowdfunded journalism investigative project, said that Turkey has become an “open safe haven” for jihadists.
“For Erdogan, political Islam is merely a useful tool to consolidate his support base in Turkey. And it is now his main tool to use against all domestic opposition to his rule — in particular the Kurds, who are a potent fighting force against ISIL,” he said.
Yayla was Chief of the Counter-Terrorism and Operations Division of Turkish National Police between 2010 and 2012 before becoming Chief of the Public Order and Crime Prevention Division until 2014. Previously, he had worked in the Counter-Terrorism and Operations Division as a mid-level manager for his entire 20-year police tenure before becoming chief of police in Ankara and Sanliurfa.