Comes as Western alliance considers military options.
WASHINGTON – As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization considers what action to take against ISIS, concern is mounting about the response of Turkey, a NATO member that continues to allow its borders to be crossed by Islamic fighters and launders money to finance jihad.
Informed sources tell WND that Turkey continues to keep open its borders to allow jihadists seeking to join ISIS, or Islamic State, to cross into Syria. Many of the fighters are from Europe and the United States.
Turkey has been a major gathering point for fighters throughout the world to obtain training and logistical support to join various jihadist groups and the Syrian opposition fighting Shiite-Alawite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Now, many fighters from various Sunni jihadist groups have sworn allegiance to ISIS, although some openly oppose the group. The opposition, however, now appears to be waning because of ISIS’ spectacular gains in recent months and its declaration of a Sunni caliphate ruled by Islamic law.
In addition, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Turkey remains an even greater conduit of money laundering to ISIS than Qatar.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia are known financial sources to ISIS, and the funds generally are channeled through Turkey to ISIS in neighboring Syria, sources tell WND.
Analysts say Turkey is afraid of cutting off ISIS because of threats of reprisal the group has made through Turkish media.
In addition, sources say, ISIS continues to hold hostage some 49 Turkish diplomats who were captured when it took over Mosul last June. The development has been one reason for Turkey to go along with ISIS demands.
However, there appear to be more compelling reasons for Turkey to continue working with ISIS.
Turkey’s backing hasn’t gone unnoticed by ISIS, whose leadership now is considering rewarding Turkish businesses with contracts in ISIS-occupied Sunni areas of Iraq.
Turkey’s minister of economy, Nihat Zeybekci, is receptive to the notion and has been open about encouraging Turkish businesses to invest in ISIS-occupied portions of Iraq.
”Our exports to Iraq are now down to 35 percent, but Iraq cannot easily substitute other sources,” Neybekci said. ”We think there will be a boom in demand soon. We also know that IS (ISIS) is contacting individual Turkish businessmen and telling them, ‘Come back, we won’t interfere.’ That is not easy, of course. But when it the future Iraq is rebuilt, it will be Turkey doing it.”