Columbia University Researchers Confirm Turkey’s Links to ISIS

Harut Sassounian
Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian


A team of Columbia University researchers from the United States, Europe, and Turkey confirmed last week that the Turkish government has provided to ISIS: military cooperation, weapons, logistical support, financial assistance, and medical services. This detailed investigation was headed by David L. Phillips, Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. He had served as Senior Advisor and Foreign Affairs Expert for the U.S. Department of State.

Here are brief excerpts from the extensive research documenting the direct links between Turkey and ISIS:

  1. Turkey Supplied Military Equipment to ISIS
  • An ISIS commander told The Washington Post on August 12, 2014: “Most of the fighters who joined us in the beginning of the war came via Turkey, and so did our equipment and supplies.”
  • Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), disclosed on Oct. 14, 2014, documents from the Adana Office of the Prosecutor, revealing that Turkey supplied weapons to terrorist groups. He also produced transcripts of interviews with truck drivers who delivered the weapons to the terrorists.
  • According to CHP Vice President Bulent Tezcan, Turkish agents drove three trucks loaded with rockets, arms, and ammunition to ISIS in Syria, on January 19, 2014.
  • Cumhuriyet newspaper quoted Fuat Avni as stating that Germany and the United States had audio tapes confirming that Turkey provided financial and military aid to terrorist groups associated with Al Qaeda on Oct. 12, 2014.
  • Documents made public on Sept. 27, 2014, revealed that Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan financed the transportation of arms to ISIS through Turkey.

    Turkey and ISIS connection

    Turkey and ISIS connection

  1. Turkey Provided Logistical Assistance to ISIS Fighters
  • According to a June 13, 2014 article in Radikal newspaper, Turkish Interior Minister Muammar Guler issued the following directive: “Hatay is a strategic location for the Mujahidin crossing from within our borders to Syria. Logistical support for Islamist groups will be increased, and their training, hospital care, and safe passage will mostly take place in Hatay.”
  • The Daily Mail reported on August 25, 2014 that many foreign militants joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq after traveling through Turkey.
  • Britain’s Sky News obtained documents showing that the Turkish government stamped passports of foreign militants seeking to cross the Turkish border into Syria to join ISIS.
  • A senior Egyptian official indicated on Oct. 9, 2014 that Turkish intelligence is passing to ISIS satellite imagery and other data.
  1. Turkey Trained ISIS Fighters
  • CNN Turk reported on July 29, 2014 that in the heart of Istanbul, places like Duzce and Adapazari have become gathering spots for terrorists.
  • Turks who joined an ISIS affiliate were shown on July 28, 2014, at a public gathering in Istanbul.
  • A video showed an ISIS affiliate holding a prayer-gathering in Omerli, a district of Istanbul.
  • According to Jordanian Intelligence, Turkey trained ISIS militants for special operations.
  1. Turkey Extended Medical Care to ISIS Fighters
  • An ISIS commander told The Washington Post on August 12, 2014, “We used to have some fighters — even high-level members of the Islamic State — getting treated in Turkish hospitals.”
  • On Oct. 12, 2014, Taraf newspaper reported that Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, a founder of Pres. Erdogan’s ruling party (AKP), divulged that Turkey supported terrorist groups and still supports them and treats them in its hospitals.
  1. Turkey Supported ISIS Financially Through Purchase of Oil
  • On Sept. 13, 2014, The New York Times reported on the Obama administration’s efforts to pressure Turkey to crack down on the extensive network of oil sold by ISIS.
  • Fehim Taştekin wrote in Radikal on Sept. 13, 2014 about illegal pipelines transporting oil from Syria to Turkey.
  1. Turkey Assisted ISIS Recruitment
  • Kiliçdaroğlu announced on Oct. 14, 2014 that ISIS offices in Istanbul and Gaziantep are recruiting fighters. On Oct. 10, 2014, the Mufti of Konya stated that 100 men from his city had joined ISIS four days ago.
  • OdaTV reported that Takva Haber served as a propaganda outlet for ISIS to recruit Turkish-speaking men in Turkey and Germany.
  • Minister of Sports, Suat Kilic, an AKP member, visited Salafi Jihadists who are ISIS supporters in Germany. These Jihadists recruit supporters by distributing free copies of the Quran and raising funds to sponsor suicide attacks in Syria and Iraq.
  • OdaTV released a video showing ISIS militants riding a bus in Istanbul.
  1. Turkish Forces are Fighting Alongside ISIS
  • American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh asserted in the London Review of Books that “Prime Minister Recep Erdogan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a Jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups.”
  • On Sept. 20, 2014, Demir Celik, a Member of Parliament representing the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), stated that Turkish Special Forces had joined ISIS in the battlefield.
  1. Turkey Helped ISIS in Battle for Kobani
  • Anwar Muslim, Mayor of Kobani, revealed on Sept. 19, 2014 that trains full of Turkish forces and ammunition were delivered to ISIS. On September 30, 2014, a CHP delegation visited Kobani, where locals declared that everything from the clothes of ISIS militants to their guns comes from Turkey.
  • A Nuhaber video showed on Sept. 25, 2014 Turkish military convoys, carrying tanks and ammunition, moving freely under ISIS flags in the Jarablus region of Syria and the Karkamis border crossing.
  • Salih Muslim, PYD leader of Kurdish fighters, reported that 120 militants had crossed into Syria from Turkey on Oct. 20-24, 2014.
  • According to an op-ed written by a YPG Kurdish commander in The New York Times on Oct. 29, 2014, Turkey regularly allows ISIS militants and their equipment to pass freely over its border.
  • Diken reported on Oct. 1, 2014: “ISIS fighters crossed the border from Turkey into Syria in full view of Turkish soldiers.”
  1. Turkey and ISIS Share a Worldview
  • RT reported on Oct. 3, 2014 on Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks detailing Turkish support to ISIS.
  • Hurriyet newspaper quoted a Turkish civil servant on Sept. 26, 2014: “I was shocked to hear words of admiration for ISIL from some high-level civil servants.”
  • An AKP council member posted on his Facebook page: “Thankfully ISIS exists…. May you never run out of ammunition….”
  • Erdogan’s son Bilal and Turkish officials met with ISIS fighters, according to Sariyer Gozlem.

It is absolutely unacceptable that while ISIS is committing mass murder in Paris and other European cities, its NATO ‘ally,’ Turkey, is continuing to aid and arm these terrorists. It is high time that Turkey is expelled from NATO and its leaders are indicted and brought to justice for their role in these heinous crimes.

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  1. Aris said:

    If Turkey is supporting ISIS and ISIS is at war with France then that would make Turkey a traitor and breaking their NATO alliance.

  2. Lusik said:

    First, let us begin calling this monsters by name – not (I)State but (I)Regime. Countries refuse to recognize peaceful, democratic states but jump into naming a killing machine – Islamic State, a state.

    Second, what is the role of US? Why never this question is answered? What this mantra means “Assad must go”? Without direct support from the US, Turkey would never resurrect its ottoman ambitions. Without moral and material contribution from Mr. Obama, Mr. Erdogan would never build a palace. Mr. Erdogan would never allow his son behave like the leader of young-turks new-ottoman empire and organize sudden influx of millions into Europe. Mr. Obama has deep emotional longing for Mr. Erdogan and also has specific promises to fulfill towards muslim brotherhood. The events of Mr. Obama’s presidency are a “pink-road” for the muslim brotherhood to exterminate Christians in the middle east. Mr. Obama pretends that he saves US from terrorism by flattering Mr. Erdogan. In reality he builds ground for more escalation in the distraction of Syria and helps in strengthening of the grip of Erdogan in the region. Mr. Erdogan is the actual leader of the international terrorism. Mr. Bagdadi stopped being the head of the IRegime long ago, before they expanded into Syria. Mr. Erdogan would never allow a bird to fly over former ottoman territory without his accord. The puzzle is that leaders of civilized countries – the places that these barbarians want, know all this before I or you knew.

    • Randy said:

      Why is it that once again someone has taken the opportunity to bash President Obama and falsely accuse him of being affiliated with Muslim terrorists. The actions of President Bush caused this situation when he invaded Iraq. If you want to make a connection between ISIS emergence and the United States, then you should be accurate and not simply showing one’s prejudice towards our President.

  3. hiedi baghoomian said:

    **** Finally …, I hope the world can begin to see how a criminal Turkey and there leaders are., it is time to kick this double agent out of NATO.

  4. Vahe said:

    There was and has never been the need for Columbia University or any other venerable academic institution to indulge in such costly studies when there is the indisputable historic litmus test for Turkish conducts, Kessab the only centuries old remaining Armenian enclave outside Turkey.

    March 21, 2014 onslaught of Kessab from Turkey, Kessabtsis tell, came about after they had been witnessing for months and in plain view a lot of activities on the Turkish side, including bulldozers working feverishly to open roads and white tents being set up that seemed to be more like battle ground infirmaries than anything else.

    Kessab is the north-westernmost of Syria and no one can enter at that Syrian grounds bordering Mediterranean See without the permission of the authorities of its only entryway, Turkey, let alone thousands of Jihadis armed to their teeth and equipped with artillery.

    Surely all this was done with the approval of Turkey and naturally with the full knowledge of NATO, unless NATO has a blind eye when it comes to Turkey.

  5. Kevork Hagopian said:

    The U.S. will never punish Turkey for siding with ISIS. Why? Because the present U.S. administration under Obama is also with ISIS. Obama just talks without any actions. Why? Because he is a Muslim.
    America needs a president who is tough and strong (just like Trump). Obama supports a terrorist nation like Turkey regardless of what Turkey does. Now, after the shooting of a Russian fighter plane, Turkey will be severely punished by Russia.
    Lon live ARMENIA AND ARMENIANS and our big brothers the RUSSIANS

    • Randy said:

      Why is it that once again someone has taken the opportunity to bash President Obama and falsely accuse him of being affiliated with Muslim terrorists. The actions of President Bush caused this situation when he invaded Iraq. If you want to make a connection between ISIS emergence and the United States, then you should be accurate and not simply showing one’s prejudice towards our President.

    • gary's friend said:

      Come on Gary, people are going to take this seriously. Please stop making jokes online that people are going to think are serious. Call me!!!

      • gary's friend said:

        And where did you find that name (Kevork Hagopian)? is that a real persons name that you are using? What if they get in trouble work? Or friends etc?

  6. Raffi said:

    Good lusck EU and US, with such a partner Turekey/Erdogan, they will betray you again and again and again.

  7. hye said:

    it is so obvious that Turkey supports ISIS, I don’t even think there was any need for research.
    Also, Turkey never changes and wants to be empire.

  8. Randy said:

    It is most unfortunate that people wish to bash President Obama, falsely I might add that he is Muslim and that he sides with the Islamic State. President Bush is the author of the rise of terrorists groups. By his order, we invaded Iraq. Why?? To liberate its people?? To protect the United States??? The attack on Iraq was personal. And 9/11 gave him the “doorway” he was looking for. Our current President spent most of his first term cleaning up after Bush’s mess. I believe that Turkey is the real threat and it and places like it should be dealt with harshly.

  9. Hannover Fist said:

    Sure took long enough for the world to wake up, but all of you are still ignoring the source of the problem.

    Back in 2010 President Obama wished to setup a No Fly Zone and was told absolutely not by Putin. So instead when Libya begin to fall he sent CIA operatives to Libya to capture the Libyan arms caches so they could be delivered to Turkey, Saudi, and Qatar so they could be given to the rebels trying to achieve Obama’s political agenda of “assad must go”.

    Obama said himself he would only supply non-lethal aid to the rebels and included we will let our allies in the region provide the arms. Even while Obama was claiming to only be supplying non-lethal aid and Americans were eating it like a pig to corn he was, along with Hillary Clinton, running the largest weapons smuggling stream that has ever existed, and the companies in charge of perjuring the arms for delivery where given full clearance by both Hillary and Obama but also other members of Congress and this is not only a felony, this is full blown Treason.