Erdogan’s government faces renewed accusations of assisting the ISIS terror organisation today, with new evidence to suggest that ISIS militants have been travelling from Syria to Turkey to receive complex medical treatment. Transcripts of tapped phone calls appear to feature a known ISIS official, Illhami Bali, negotiating payments for the treatment of ISIS militants in Turkish hospitals.
The transcripts were obtained and disseminated by an opposition Turkish MP, Eren Erdem, of the Republican People’s Party. This is not the first time that he has made such accusations against Erdogan’s government – he is currently undergoing a treason investigation after claiming that ISIS had transported sarin gas to Syria via Turkey – nor is this the first evidence of militants being treated in Turkish hospitals: As far back as September 2014, Dogu Eroglu, of Turkey’s BirGun newspaper, exposed the story of a hospital in Gaziantep that had been providing treatment to jihadist fighters. Both he and BirGun were later prosecuted.
And last year another Turkish politician, Mehmet Ali Ediboglu, who represents the Turkish border region of Hatay Province, claimed that “There are more than 50 state, university and private hospitals in border cities and jihadists have been treated in these hospitals for five years… Wounded Nusra Front and Islamic Front militants are brought there.”
Both from Turkish and non-Turkish sources, there is mounting evidence of several areas of co-operation between Erdogan’s government and ISIS, which sits rather awkwardly with its position at the fore of a coalition pledged to destroying the terrorist organisation.