Stop supplying hamburgers to IS!

Berat Özipek

 

The Turkish original of this article was published as IŞİD’e hamburger sevkiyatı durdurulsun! on 19th November 2015.

 

Did you know that during the fighting in Kobane, Turkish intelligence was supplying IS with hamburgers from McDonald’s?

 

Or that they enable IS militants to have vacations in Turkey?

 

I too have just “learned” about it from Cumhuriyet. Though not from the paper’s humor pages.

 

One of their reporters, İlhan Tanır, has achieved a great journalistic success by finding and talking to “a commander that has fled IS.” So what does this “IS commander” that Cumhuriyet has been able to “interview” have to say? “I can state that Turkish intelligence has for long been providing [IS] with all sorts of logistics support including Mc Donald’s.” 

 

Evidence, did you say? 

 

All great minds think alike: “There is no Mc Donald’s chain in Kobane, nor for that matter in the rest of Syria. So who can have served them this food? Of course the only possible address is Turkish intelligence.”

 

Now how can you not admire this brilliant piece of logic? 

 

He even warned France, but…

 

There are other bits and pieces of “evidence,” too, that should be more than enough to convict Turkey of “supporting IS.” That same person also provides the “information” that those who are coming in to join the organization “feel so comfortable as to board Istanbul to Hatay or Antep flights wearing military camouflage uniforms.” The turncoat commander goes on to make more such extremely serious accusations, but somehow does not provide any concrete names or places. For example, there are two mosques in Kilis, he alleges, “one of which is used for those going to join Al Qaeda and the other for those heading for IS.”

 

“The two groups maintain representatives at these two mosques, which are conduits for fighters crossing over to Syria,” he affirms, but for some reason does not say which mosques they are. He is brave enough to expose the organization, very tight-lipped when it comes to providing hard evidence! 

 

And this “news report” is presented with a headline that further reinforces the desired message: “IS trained him and sent him to Paris.” When two French and British fighters that he happened to know personally left the IS zone ton carry out attacks in their respective countries, the commander warned the French authorities, it seems, but nobody contacted him subsequently. So it not just the Turkish state that is at fault; for not having taken seriously even this tip about a possible attack against itself, France is also in the same boat. At the very least, they should have contacted this guy to ask: Who is going to attack us?

 

It does seem, though, as if nobody has taken all this information seriously other than Cumhuriyet

 

A pity, for months ago, Cumhuriyet had served yet another warning through a “news report” by Ahmet Şık with the headline: “IS is in Turkey, so may God protect you.” The basic idea was this: “A few bags full of beard cuttings left behind by IS militants abandoning Tell Abyad reveal that most have passed into Turkey disguised as refugees.”

 

Many such reports, but no reason or evidence 

 

There is not a single piece of information or meaningful evidence to support the claim that Turkey is aiding and abetting IS — nothing that can be taken at all seriously. Nor is there any reason provided. On the contrary; thinkers capable of influencing the Turkish government’s foreign policy line as well as leading names from religious circles are all united in accusing IS of emerging mysteriously and serving unknown masters, of dividing the Syrian opposition, of channeling the post-occupation anger of oppressed and brutalized communities in the wrong direction, of putting a bad face on Islam, and hence of providing the West with excuses for intervening in support of dictatorships.  

 

So then, how to explain the serial production of all these ludicrous reports about “Turkey supporting IS”?

 

Is it intended to embarrass the Turkish government internationally so as to be able to provoke the Western powers into intensifying the pressure on this country?  

 

As we have seen during the Kobane clashes, when PKK militants attacked and murdered bearded people on the grounds that they were “IS adherents,” Islamophobia is rampant. Does conflating Turkey with IS also derive from the same prejudice, i.e. an inability to distinguish between IS on the one hand, and on the other, the Islam in all its variety of all kinds of religious, conservative, Islamic groups and sections?

 

Or is it just bigotry and not knowing anything about journalism?

 

Whatever the explanation, we are clearly facing a bizarre situation. To repeat, there is not a single piece of information or meaningful evidence or causal explanation to support the claim that Turkey is aiding and abetting IS, but at the same time, the Turkish oligarchy’s media as well as the HDP media are full of wave upon wave of disinformation over this point. Our only consolation is that despite its irritating character, such reporting is now also beginning to provide “details” making it so much easier to read.

 

I don’t know whether Burger King might also start serving IS in the near future. But from what I, too, have learned through reliable channels, a notorious IS militant has said that “Mc Donald’s is beyond compare.”