DAESH propaganda woman: I want to confront Turkey

Turkish journalist Defne Bayrak set off for Syria to join DAESH and work for its propaganda machine in 2015. She has been captured and has been a prisoner in the hands of the SDF for some time. 

Turkish journalist Defne Bayrak who was mentioned in the crypto correspondence between the CIA and the US Embassy in Ankara in 2010 and joined DAESH in 2015, is in the hands of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

After writing for papers in Turkey like Hurriyet, Times, Timeturk, InkaNews, Küresel Haber (Global News) she moved to work for DAESH publication and in 2015 she announced on her social media accounts that she had joined DAESH with her two daughters.

From Turkey to Jordan and eventually Syria

Bayrak had studied journalism at the Istanbul University and had married a Jordanian citizen who was studying medicine at the same university, Humam Khalil al-Balawi. She lived in Jordan with her husband for 7 years and on 30 December 2009 her husband carried out a suicide action against a US base in Afghanistan. Bayrak was back in Turkey. 

Once in Turkey Bayrak began working for media linked to DAESH after the period of contrast between DAESH and Al-Qaeda.

Eventually, in April 2015 she joined the organization and went with her two daughters through Syria via Antep. In Syria she picked up work for the organisation’s communication section. 

Her name in crypto US communication

Among the names passed on to the US Department of State, FBI and CIA by the US Embassy envoy in Ankara, Dougles Silliman, on 13 January 2010 was that of Defne Bayrak.

In the crypto correspondence, the US official talked about the risks and threats to US security posed by civilians such as Defne Bayrak. 

Al-Balawi: Agent and jihadist

Two weeks before the writing of the crypto report, on 30 December 2009, Bayrak's Jordanian husband, el-Belavi had said he had important information on  Al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri. Indeed al-Balawi was a double agent. His suicide action left seven CIA operatives dead in a US base in Afghanistan.

Al-Belawi returned to Jordan after his marriage with Defne Bayrak, and was convinced by Jordanian intelligence to infiltrate Al-Qaeda. He was then recruited by the CIA, but in reality al-Balawi was infiltrating the CIA for Al-Qaeda. 

It is interesting though to notice that before the suicide mission, al-Balawy had sent his wife and children to Turkey. 

Defne Bayrak: Life within DAESH

Defne Bayrak set off for Syria to join DAESH and work for its propaganda machine in 2015. She has been captured and has been a prisoner in the hands of the SDF for some time. 

"I had decided to emigrate to the Islamic lands with my two daughters, - she said- convinced that an Islamic state had been established. I was already connected with the organization when I was working in various media institutions.”

Bayrak continued: "After I decided to join DAESH, I went to Antep, I was detained there, but I was released after a short period of custody, and on the same night I crossed into DAESH territory. 

After that, I stayed in Tabqa and Meyadin for a while. I wanted to register my children for school but I couldn't do it because I wasn't married.”

Second marriage

Bayrak said: “Then I got married a second time, to an Egyptian man. The women have recommended him to him and that’s why I have chosen him, but he turned out to be very disappointing. The Egyptian man was constantly harassing and threatening me and my children. Even when we wanted to escape, the Governor told us that he threatened to get us killed.

I was married to him for 15 months, and he was threatening me saying that if I was going to court, he would show me as a liar. It was really very hard, but thankfully I divorced. In fact he was never really married to me, once I could not get children he married a 16 year old Syrian girl.”

Bayrak continued: “After my divorce I went to Tabqa from Meyadin. I had a lot of trouble here. My daughters were living in a miserable way. It was a disappointment for me.

Indeed they call themselves a state, but if you are not married they are not looking after you at all. 

When I told my Egyptian husband I wanted to work, he said to me ‘good women stay at home’. Can you understand? This is how they see women…”

I wanted to write a book about DAESH

Bayrak said that “after the divorce, I did some translation work for DAESH for some time. I wanted to write a book about their life, economic structure and the Islamic state, but it did not happen. I wrote more books. But had no opportunity to write this.”

A woman alone, not married, said Bayrak, “cannot do any work. She is not given the opportunity to work. Which is why I decided to get married again. I decided to marry her again. I married a Kurdish man from Kilis. His name was Abdullah. I stayed with him 2 months and then, pregnant, I left.”

Bayrak said: “Then I decided to flee to Turkey. I took my children and we set off from Raqqa. But we were captured by the YPG while crossing the Euphrates. We went to the camp and then I stayed for two months in prison, along with my children. I gave birth to my child, the Kilis man child, in Heseke."

Turkey has betrayed us

The connection between Turkey and DAESH are well known and proved. Defne Bayrak said that the fact that she was arrested in Antep and immediately released is another proof of this. She said that Turkey has “betrayed” her and added: “The first disappointment for me was DAESH. But the second is certainly Turkey. Everyone uses Islam. The doors of Turkey were opened for anyone to join DAESH, from from Africa, from Europe, from Asia. But now that things went bad, the doors are closed.”

Bayrak added: “We have been used.” We asked if there was an agreement between the people she thinks used them and them. But we got no answer. 

Defne Bayrak said she wants to stand up in court in Turkey.

"I want to be judged in a court in Turkey. - she said - I cannot accept that we are taken as the only guilty in this case. I want to confront the counterparts in this affair. If they are going to judge me I also want them to answer to my questions.”

I have a question to ask

We asked “Who do you want to face?” but Defne Bayrak avoided the question and said instead: “There are questions to ask, so…” and added: “Of course there are questions. No one can survive persecution. You see DAESH, it was destroyed by persecution. If you want to walk with persecution in Turkey you know you wait for the end.” 

Defne Bayrak ended her remarks by saying: “They would have to answer my questions. I have my rights as an ordinary citizen. I have come here and the doors were opened. I wanted to go back, why do they closed the doors? I am not accepting this.”

When asked if she feels disappointed, Bayrak said: “I was very much disappointed. I'm disappointed with DAES first, and second with Turkey.”