Erhan Pekçetin and Aydın Günel, two high ranking Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) officials, who were captured by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq on August 2017, has reportedly spoken about how Turkish government under the strict rule of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has supported Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and jihadist al-Nusra organisation.
According to a report by pro-PKK Fırat news agency (ANF) on Tuesday that the outlawed Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that encompasses the PKK, has released the alleged confessions of Pekçetin and Günel who described how MİT organized camps and trained ISIL and al-Nusra militants inside Turkey.
Günel has reportedly said that MİT Special Operations Office deputy director Kemal Eskintan is responsible for coordinating relations between the MİT and the radical Islamist terror organisations. He also gave information about a meeting in Antalya with ISIL members which was attended by Hakan Fidan, the controversial head of the MİT.
Pekçetin has also spoken about the special white Mercedes buses and trucks bought by the MİT for ISIL and al-Nusra militants, weapons and explosives that were sent to them. Pekçetin said these vehicles bought for the radical terror organisations were kept in the MİT headquarters in Ankara.
“We have white Mercedes buses, these were bought. We didn’t have them in the organization, they were bought. There are 7 or 8 f of them. They are kept in the headquarters. They were side by side with the MİT trucks in the headquarters. The trucks carrying the equipment, weapons and ammunition were also in the headquarters. They were there in 2012 when I came,” said Pekçetin.
He has continued to say that “I saw them go in and out, fully loaded, at midnight. It actually drew attention that they were leaving the central site in the headquarters at midnight… After a while, those trucks and buses were taken away from the headquarters. The newspaper Sözcü photographed those trucks. They took photographs from Google and wrote that they ‘draw attention.’ … I’m guessing they rented or bought a space in Pursaklar (district in Ankara.) … Pursaklar is 3 or 4 km to the airport. If there is equipment coming in, if military equipment is brought by air from abroad, it can be handled in a very short time without drawing anybody’s attention.”
Stating that the MİT has many special interrogation houses in many cities including Ankara, Pekçetin said that the MİT illegally detains people and has special questioning houses in İstanbul, Van and Diyarbakır: “That place hadn’t been used since 1999. Cleaning, preparation and other efforts were completed, and we had that place opened… We don’t have the authority to detain people… So they do it quietly, without the public hearing about it, and then they release the detainees. They could be offered a position, or the department decides according to the questions and answers. Usually, people are taken in so they would be offered a position. We used to use the Special Activities Directorate offices, this is what I can say now about the campus, the budget, and the buses.”
MİT’s Pekçetin has also said that ISIL militants were interrogated in the special questioning houses and the Turkish state used them as they wished. Pekçetin gave some examples:
“The Special Activities Directorate campus is outside of the Yenimahalle campus, it’s outside the Anadolu Boulevard, it used to be called The Farm. They don’t have the authority to detain people… But they took people in illegally, questioned and released them. Their equipment was better. I saw a young ISIL member there. They said, ‘We took this one in from Syria, he is an ISIL member.’ It was a young man, 25-26 years old. From Iran. They took him to Kars by plane and he was to be taken to Doğubeyazıt to be handed over to Iran. But what Iran gave in return, how he was handed over, if Hakan Fidan did it as a gesture to Iran, I don’t know. I don’t know if the Iranian ISIL member was handed over. Did the Special Activities Directorate take him in under war conditions I don’t know. Because I know that they do take people in under other circumstances. They took in a source in Hatay, and he was released after they figured out he was a source.”
AL-NUSRA AND ISIL MILITANTS TRAINED IN CAMPS
Pekçetin has stated that “The Special Activities Directorate’s budget is also very high. Because their activities are very special, their budget is high. Buses, trucks, weapons, FSA members going in and out happens through camps. The camps in Hatay, Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep have been in the press a lot. There are camps where MPs aren’t allowed in, I believe the activity could be in one of those. Our guys (the MİT) organize the going in and out. It’s the Special Activities that organizes this. No member of the organization ever used those trucks. The white Mercedes buses were never used, even though they were in the headquarters…”
Pekçetin said the MİT’s budget was increased for supporting the ISIL, al-Nusra and FSA militants and continued to state that “When Hakan Fidan started, the MİT’s budget was around 410 million dollars. Right now, I know that the MİT’s budget is around 1,1 billion dollars. This is a serious increase in just 4-5 years. And I think this is due to the Special Activities Department. Of course there is the new campus under construction. A campus outside of Yenimahalle is being built, I don’t know if that is included in the budget.”
Pekçetin has also reportedly said that the MİT met with ISIL for the officers in the Turkish consulate in Mosul and added that in an explosion in a bus sent by the militants to Afrin, 4 MİT officers were killed but the government covered up this information: “…There was a suicide bombing on one of our Mercedes buses that were taking FSA members to Afrin. What I heard is a friend from İzmir was martyred in that attack, I used to love that guy… One driver and two guards, and 3 or 4 operatives were martyred. Apparently, they saw the bus, the friend had a list, and when the ISIL suicide bomber wanted to get on the bus he told him his name wasn’t on the list. He didn’t let him on the bus, and he told him. So the ISIL suicide bomber detonated himself by the door. He detonated himself before he could board the bus. If he had gotten on the bus, the casualties would have been much higher… I even saw a photograph, the trunk doors were blown open on the sides.”