Two Turkish nationals and their company, recently sanctioned by the US Treasury for aiding and abetting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and identified in 2016 by Russia at the UN Security Council as operatives of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), turned out to be connected to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which is led by Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as Nordic Monitor reports.
Nordic Monitor’s review of postings on Twitter and Facebook reveals that a senior leader of Erdoğan’s party met with the managers of the sanctioned firm in the border province of Şanlıurfa, where ISIS cells have been known to be active for years. In the multiple postings, the AKP provincial chairman in Şanlıurfa, Bayattin Yıldız, was seen visiting and meeting with the owners of the ACL export-import firm, an entity that has been designated under sanctions by the US government for providing logistical supplies to ISIS.
This is not surprising given the fact that Russia had already identified the two US-designated Turkish individuals as ISIS suppliers long before and connected them to Turkey’s notorious MIT, led by Erdoğan confidant Hakan Fidan, another Islamist figure. “The main supplier of weapons and military equipment to ISIL fighters is Turkey, which is doing so through non-governmental organizations. Work in this area is overseen by the National Intelligence Organization of Turkey. Transportation mainly involves vehicles, including as part of humanitarian aid convoys,” Russia’s then-UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told members of the Security Council in a letter.
Although the US Treasury designation on November 18, 2019 only listed 30-year old İsmail Bayaltun (Turkish identity No: 43867949044) and his brother Ahmet Bayaltun as the individuals who provided support to ISIS fighters in Syria through ACL İthalat İhracat, Nordic Monitor’s review of family business activities show multiple members of the family have been active in commercial activities linked to ACL not only in the border province but also in Istanbul’s Tahtakale business district, where smuggled goods, especially electronics, were widely traded.
According to official trade registry data, İsmail Bayaltun filed the papers to establish ACL İthalat İhracat, an import-export company, on March 29, 2011 in Şanlıurfa. Registration No.11586 was assigned to the company under his name. The company’s address was declared as Dünya İş Merkezi, 2.Kat No: 96 in the same city. On December 5, 2018 he changed the company’s address to Yusufpaşa Mahallesi, 886 Sokak No:31/1 Eyyübiye, Şanlıurfa. On July 5, 2019 İsmail Bayaltun filed a form with the trade registration office declaring that he had turned the company over to İsmail Soylu and that the firm’s name was changed to İsmail Soylu ACL İthalat İhracat. The change appears to have been merely cosmetic.
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