Opposition MPs submit parliamentary enquiries on MİT, ISIS links

Turkish opposition lawmakers have submitted parliamentary enquiries questioning what they said was contact between the Islamic State (ISIS) and the country’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) during a string of terror attacks that rocked the country in 2015.

Serpil Kemalbay, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) asked Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay whether the terrorist attacks ISIS committed in Turkey in the summer of 2015 were connected to meetings the organisation held with the MİT. 

Pointing to the period between June 7, 2015, when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost parliamentary majority in the general elections, and the November 1 snap election, Kemalbay asked, whether there was any connection between ISIS militants and MİT.

“Do ISIS massacres committed between June and November 2015, which a former prime minister called the most critical four months in Turkey’s history, when the AKP lost the government, have any connection to the relationship and meetings between the MİT and ISIS that have been discussed before?” Kemalbay asked.

The questions asked by the HDP MP are as follows:

-Has the MİT met with Abu Mansour al Maghrebi and İlhami Balı? If yes, when?
-Is the information provided by Abu Mansour al Maghrebi, who claims to be the ISIS ambassador to Turkey, true?
-Has the MİT negotiated with ISIS in line with its interests, and has the MİT ever cooperated with ISIS or its offshoots?
-Did MİT officials host ISIS member İlhami Balı in a hotel where he was not allowed to leave? If yes, why?
-Why wasn’t İlhami Balı handed over to authorities, despite the red notice against him as the suspect in several massacres committed in the country? Why was he supervised and protected by the MİT? Is it not true that these connections show that the massacres committed by ISIS in Turkey were done so within the knowledge of the MİT?
-Was the MİT privy to the ISIS massacres between June and November 2015? If yes, why were there no measures taken? Why were the attacks not prevented?
-Is it true that İlhami Balı was accompanied by Serhan Albayrak (code name) from MİT’s Syria desk and Iraq Office interpreter Ahmet Özçelik? If yes, what was discussed in the meeting?
-Have the claims in the media that İlhan Kaya, who met with İlhami Balı in Ankara, and MİT’s Syria Office Director Mutlu Tuka had communicated with Turkish soldiers Sefer Taş and Fethi Şahin, who were burned to death by ISIS, over WhatsApp been investigated? If so, what was discussed in the communications? When will the public be informed about the fate of the soldiers?
-Have the connections of ISIS members who were able to cross the border into Turkey with ease as they were in communication with the MİT been investigated regarding the Ankara massacre and other massacres?
-Is it true that ISIS members who crossed into Turkey were treated in Turkey’s hospitals?

In the June 7, 2015 general elections, the HDP had won 13 per cent of the vote and 80 seats in the parliament, becoming the third largest group after the AKP and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and making it impossible for the AKP to maintain a one-party government.

A total of 34 people lost their lives in an ISIS bombing in Suruç, a district near the Syrian border in southeastern Turkey, on July 20. 

On July 22, two police officers were killed in the border town of Ceylanpınar, which led to the complete dismantling of Turkey’s peace process with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who first assumed responsibility for the incident but later called it a provocation. 

On October 10, ISIS detonated bombs at a peace rally in Ankara, killing over 100 civilians.

CHP Istanbul MP Ali Şeker had also submitted an enquiry on September 6, pointing to the MİT’s connection with İlhami Balı, the head of ISIS’ organisation in Turkey who is also the main suspect in the October 10 terrorist attack in Ankara.

Şeker had asked whether intelligence authorities were communicating with Balı before March 27-29, 2019 and said the web of connections in the dark period between June 7 and November 1 must be revealed and all responsible in the events must face trial.

In his enquiry, MP Şeker asked the following:

-Was İlhami Balı under surveillance? If İlhami Balı’s phones were tapped, why were necessary precautions not taken against the massacres and attacks he organised?
-Have officials responsible for failing to implement measures to stop the massacres and attacks organised by İlhami Balı’s Adıyaman Dokumacılar group been subjected to any administrative or judicial investigations?
-If allegations that İlhami Balı met with intelligence authorities in Ankara are true, are there plans to shed light on the web of connections in the dark period of June 7 to November 1 mentioned by then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu?

HDP Gaziantep MP Mahmut Toğrul also submitted an enquiry on the same day, asking whether Balı was connected to the MİT or any other intelligence agency, and since when. Toğrul also enquired whether the ISIS head had been hosted in the Anadolu Hotel, which is owned by the MİT undersecretary, and whether the government was conducting investigations on the connections between the MİT and ISIS.