Captured jihadist: İsmail Ağa Sect in Turkey recruits members for ISIS
Turkish citizen Ramazan Başol was captured by YPG as he attempted to join ISIS from Konya province, one of the major locations where ISIS supporters are active and organizing attacks against local Kurds.
Turkish citizen Ramazan Başol was captured by YPG as he attempted to join ISIS from Konya province, one of the major locations where ISIS gangs are active and organizing attacks against local Kurds.
Başol said he was sent to ISIS by the 'İsmail Ağa Sect' which recruits members and provides logistic support to the radical Islamist organization. Başol stated that the Sect gives jihad training in central neighborhoods of Konya and sends those trained here to join ISIS gangs in Syria. He warned the youths in Konya not to be deceived by the sects working for ISIS.
Sects close to the AKP stand at the center of Islamist activities in Konya where Kurds are recently attacked by supporters of ISIS in parallel with the support and participation provided to the inhumane organization.
Getting organized through some schools, televisions, radios and magazines across the city in Central Anatolia, these sects train youths in central districts before sending them to join ISIS.
ISIS member Ramazan Başol who was captured alive by YPG spoke to ANF about his acquaintance with the 'İsmail Ağa Sect', how he was sent to Rojava to join ISIS and the sect's works and activities in support of ISIS.
Could you shortly introduce yourself?
My name is Ramazan Başol, I am 24 years old. I come from Akşehir, Konya. Before joining this sect and ISIS, I didn't have any contact with any sect or religious group, and I led a life as an ordinary person with religious beliefs.
What would you do before joining ISIS and how did you get to know these circles?
In March, I started working for the Konya Diksan Otomotiv- Makas Company. 15 days after my employment, an engineman known as Hakkı Efendi came near me and asked which sect I was affiliated to. When I told him that I didn't have any relation with any sect, he said he thought I could have ties with one of them because I had a long beard.
When he asked me if I would like to join their sect, I politely refused it, saying that I already had many things to do, had no time for anything else and ended the day dead tired. After insisting on the issue several times, he one day convinced me to go to a meeting of their sect on the second floor of a three-storey building at Zafer Square in city center. This was followed by two other meetings. Our second meeting was held in a house near the bus terminal. And lastly, we had another meeting in another house in Bosna neighborhood in city center.
Did you continuously change the place of the meetings?
Right, we were having our meetings in a different house each time.
I wouldn't understand, nor ask about the reason those times but I understand now that the meetings which were being held secretly took place in a different house each time to avoid exposure.
On what subject did your talks during these meetings mainly focus?
At first, the talks were mainly related to worship and solidarity among people and Muslims. Later, we started to discuss jihad and talks gained a different dimension as the subjects of Syrian conflict and jihad came to the forefront.
What was being talked about it?
We were being told that Muslims and the Islamic Army (ISIS) were in a difficult situation and needed help.
Who were leading the conversations during these talks?
It was mainly Hakkı Efendi, and we 8-9 people would listen to him. The group I joined the talks with was mainly made up of the same people. There were some other groups also, but we wouldn't know them. Hakkı Efendi was in charge of our group. The other groups were gathering and talking in other days they themselves determined.
Was the sect involved in any aid campaign for ISIS during this period?
Yes. Food and clothing aid was gathered from the central and nearby villages. They would mainly collect wheat from villages, sell it and send the money to the Islamic Army.
Who was leading this campaign? Did you take part in these aid collecting activities?
Aid activities would also be led by Hakkı Efendi and I joined them several times in villages.
How did you decide to join ISIS?
Once we were told about the difficult situation the Islamic Army was in, our talks focused on the need to give them support. I was thereupon told to go there and join the Islamic Army. And I accepted.
Didn't they ask you if you yourself wanted to join it or not?
I had already joined the sect which doesn't ask its members their opinion anyway. They just send the members to the Islamic Army without ever asking anything. It is simply brainwashing, a truth we faced and suffered within this sect.
Was there any youth other than you that was sent to the ISIS?
Right, it was being said during the talks that many had joined the Islamic Army and were fighting there. This was indeed how they motivated us there. Those joining the Islamic Army were being praised after their leave. This is how I also was deceived.
When did you leave Konya?
They had already told us that we would be sent to Syria and needed to get prepared. On a Thursday in the month of May, Hakkı Efendi took me to the Konya bus terminal at 22:00. He had me take a bus to Urfa, saying that, 'Our courier by the name of 'Feyzullah from Urfa' will meet you in front of a market near the Mürşitpınar border gate in Suruç, and have you cross into Syria'.
Then I left Konya. When I arrived in Urfa, I didn't get off the bus and I travelled instead to Hakkari's Şemdinli district to meet a friend of mine who was serving as a specialist sergeant there. He had a trial in Van, me and him went to Van stayed there for a week in a military station. After my friend's return to his place of duty, I went to Diyarbakır from where I travelled to Urfa and found the market near Mürşitpınar border gate, as what Hakkı Efendi had told me to do.
How were you meant to know each other with the courier by the name of Feyzullah from Urfa?
Before leaving the bus terminal in Konya, Hakkı Efendi had showed me a photo of Feyzullah who had also been shown photos of mine which they had previously taken in Konya when it was decided that I would go to Syria. Me and him would know each other in this way.
Did you meet him at the mentioned place?
Not. Feyzullah didn't come there. This is because I didn't go there on time.
And what did you do when he didn't come?
I moved towards Mürşitpınar border gate and crossed into the other side of the border, which happened easily and freely as there were no soldiers in the area.
Didn't you know that this area was under the control of YPG?
No, I didn't. I thought I had entered an ISIS-held area. After my crossing, I encountered some people in military uniforms who didn't know Turkish. Another one speaking Turkish came near me soon later, and asked me for what purpose I had gone there. I said 'I came for jihad', upon which they took me into a building near the border gate. They offered me tea and cigarette, and we had a talk there. After that, a team came there and took me away.
Do you have any call for the youths living in Konya?
I don't want anyone else to end up in this situation of mine. It is not a bad thing to join a sect but they should stand clear of the sort of sects that dragged me into this situation. They should be careful as much as possible and not allow their brain to be washed.