According to a report by Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), certain companies based in the southern seaport city of Mersin have played a role in providing the Islamic State (ISIS) with millions of dollars worth of parts for armed drones and material for improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
MASAK, a board answering to the Turkish Ministry of Finance and the Treasury, released its report on 8 March 2021, based on findings by the police intelligence department and anti-terror department, reported Bahadır Özgür from the Turkish daily Birgün on Monday.
The trade involves three construction companies based in Mersin and the Syria-based Naway Group, which started operations as an imports company and eventually became an e-trade platform, with a branch office set up in Mersin in 2014. The owner Mustafa Naway is reportedly partners with a certain Altun İnci in Mersin operations.
The MASAK report also notes that ISIS member Sajid Farooq Babar, who was killed in an operation by the US military in Syria in September 2017 and who had been labelled by the US Central Command as an ‘ISIS drone expert’, was directly linked to the trade operations in Mersin.
Babar, under the constant radar of the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) at the time, was the person who had delivered the parts that arrived in ships at Mersin.
Two individuals implicated in the MASAK report, an ethnic Uyghur Chinese citizen Abu Naeema al-Turkistani and his wife, were members of the Turkistan Islamic Party, a group regarded asserted by Turkey, who provided support to it back in 2015, to be ‘moderate opposition’. However, the group is known to have allied with the Al-Qaeda offshoot the Al-Nusra Front in clashes in Syria’s Idlib province and to have declared its own emirate in Idlib in 2018.