Muslim: Leaving the relations between ISIS and Turkey as they are is playing with fire

Salih Muslim said that the Turkish state supports ISIS in Central Asia, and added that “leaving the relations between ISIS and Turkey as they are is playing with fire."

Following the Turkish state's attacks in Northern and Eastern Syria, ISIS's mobility in the Middle East and the region increased. ANF asked Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-chair Salih Muslim about the connection between the Turkish state and ISIS.

With the increasingly heated conflict and war environment in the Middle East, ISIS is coming to the fore again. ISIS recently claimed responsibility for the attack in Iran. How do you evaluate this?

Various states use ISIS as a tool for their own interests. However, one of the countries that uses ISIS the most is Turkey. Turkey has constantly used ISIS for its purposes and to destroy the Kurdish people. For this reason, it released ISIS into Kurdistan. it unleashed ISIS on the Kurdish people in Shengal, Maxmur, Hewlêr and Kobanê. ISIS was defeated in Kobanê and even its rule ended in Deir ez-Zor, but Turkey still puts ISIS forward to this day. ISIS ideology cannot be easily destroyed. ISIS still exists in some areas. They take action when they need it. During the initial organization process of ISIS, Turkey placed its own men within ISIS. One of them was Abu Muslim Turkmen. The other was Til Aferli, who was Baghdadi's assistant.

Turkey was handling all its affairs through this. It was used in Shengal, Rojava and Syria. The most burning example was their use of the Turkish Consulate in Mosul as ISIS Headquarters. So far, Turkey has not ended its ties with ISIS. Of course, Turkey does not mention this. It says that it is fighting against ISIS, but it is not true. Turkey definitely has a hand in the recent attack in Iran. Turkey also uses ISIS against the Kurdish people. It still organizes ISIS in Rojava. This was confirmed in the confessions of the captured ISIS members. The ISIS-Turkey relationship was documented in the last Xiwêran attack. It is known where they set out from and how they obtained military equipment. Turkish intelligence was directly involved. Turkey is the country that protects ISIS, feeds it and uses it for its purposes. As long as Turkey supports ISIS, the ISIS threat will not disappear.

In some news and analyses, it is said that ISIS has established a new organization based in Turkey and has organized the Khorasan region. How do you evaluate this, as someone who fought against ISIS the most and took part in a struggle that ended its geographical existence?

In order to develop and expand ISIS, they need to choose a people who can believe every word they say under the name of Islam, without knowing Islam. Khorasan region is suitable for this. Most of the ISIS members who came to Rojava included countries such as Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. Therefore, it shows that Turkey has plans for Central Asia. It is based on plans such as opening up to Central Asia, expansion and developing friendship. Thus, they want to create complexity in these regions. Here too, Turkey supports ISIS. It may be called ISIS-Khorasan, but they are supported by Turkey.

ISIS's actions in the Middle East have increased recently. How should these actions be evaluated?

It is not possible to have peace and stability in a place where the shadow of ISIS exists. ISIS creates chaos and crisis. Deaths are increasing and the civil war is deepening. ISIS's foothold has constantly declined. It is dangerous for ISIS to become active in the Middle East. This means that the darker days will continue. Turkey is also blackmailing European countries by using ISIS for its own interests. The existence of ISIS in a country, especially in the Middle East, poses a danger not only to the people but also to the people of the world. In our fight against ISIS, what we constantly told the International Coalition, and still say, was, 'If you want to end the ISIS threat, you need to prevent those who support ISIS, you must prevent those who provide weapons, financial support and training to ISIS.' However, these forces acted in line with their own interests and turned a blind eye to Turkey, even though they knew that it was Turkey that supported ISIS.

You stated that international forces turned a blind eye even though they knew that ISIS was organized with support from Turkey. To which countries are you referring to?

Europe, Russia and America all know that Turkey backs and directly supports ISIS. The confessions of ISIS members arrested in these countries would have been sufficient proof of this. They made confessions proving how they crossed from Turkey to Rojava and their connections with Turkey. Yet they remain silent against the Turkish state. Silence proves the existence of relationships established in line with different interests. There is connivance with each other in line with economic interests. At most, they may have put some conditions to Turkey, demanding that they would be under their control, that they should not come close to their countries, that they should massacre Kurds or Armenians or whoever they want.

It seems that Turkey has interests in different countries in its relationship with ISIS. They are already using ISIS in Turkey for their own interests. Huda-Par, which it founded in Kurdistan and supports, is also ISIS. Hüda-Par is the Kurds' ISIS. There are ISIS mercenaries where Turkey's shadow is. It also filled South Kurdistan with ISIS. If the Iraqi Government conducts research in the places where Turkey is located, it will be revealed that most of them are ISIS members. In other words, there is an organic relationship between Turkey and ISIS. Letting ISIS and Turkey relations run their course is playing with fire. It is not clear when and where the fire will burn. In other words, Turkey should be put to its place.

How is the mobility of ISIS mercenaries when the Turkish state's invasion attacks on the region increase?

The attacks are carried out to take revenge on ISIS. If we remember, when Manbij was liberated in 2016, Turkey and ISIS mercenaries reached an agreement in Jarablus. Raqqa was liberated. They occupied Afrin. They constantly wanted to take revenge for ISIS. In addition, all of the attacks on Sina Prison in Hesekê in 2022 were planned by the Turkish state. They trained from outside, equipped them with military equipment, and organized from within to capture Hesekê and expand the occupation. These situations were clearly revealed in the investigations. If we look at the attacks carried out by the Turkish state against the region so far, they are targeting and bombing wherever there is a prison where ISIS mercenaries are detained. The Turkish state hopes that ISIS will escape from prisons with these attacks. Turkey has plans that it wants to carry out through ISIS, and it wants to continue these plans. Their ideological perspectives are also the same. For this reason, the relationship between Turkey and ISIS is a dangerous one.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Massacres and genocides are being carried out against people by ISIS. Turkey may be telling some countries that they are using ISIS against the Kurds, but this is not true. The issue is not just about this. ISIS is also dangerous for the people of the world. If Turkey activates ISIS again to achieve its goals, this will revive ISIS again, just as it previously carried out explosions in France, the Netherlands, Germany and England. ISIS is like a ball of fire. Our hope is that everyone sees this truth and prevents Turkey's dirty games.

Following the Turkish state's attacks in Northern and Eastern Syria, ISIS's mobility in the Middle East and the region increased. ANF asked Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-chair Salih Muslim about the connection between the Turkish state and ISIS.