Turkey’s objectives in the Syrian Civil War are, in order of priority, to prevent the formation of an autonomous Kurdish state along its southern border, to overthrow the Assad regime and replace it with a Sunni dominated government, and to defeat the Islamic State. On the latter point, Ankara has been somewhat ambivalent and has been willing to support the Islamic State and to allow IS supporters to transit Turkey to reach IS controlled regions of Syria, while turning a blind eye to the involvement of Turkish companies in participating in the smuggling of oil and antiquities from Islamic State controlled regions of Syria when such actions advanced its first two goals. U.S Special Forces operating in Syria have obtained considerable evidence of widespread Turkish involvement in support of Islamic State. The most recent, well publicized example, resulted from a raid on the compound of the Islamic State’s finance chief, Abu Sayyaf, in May 2015. The raid led to the death of Sayyaf, the capture of his wife, Umm Sayyaf, and the recovery of a cache of documents and computers which, according to intelligence sources, indicate that the Turkish Intelligence Agency, MIT, was fully aware of the Islamic State’s smuggling operations, the Turkish companies participating and may even have facilitated the smuggling.
The Enemy of My Enemy: Russia and the Kurds Reshape the Syrian Civil War
(The image doesn’t belong to the article, but one can’t help it. Blame the Erdogang for identifying this country with such adjective. Many Turks, I would like to say most, don’t deserve this… but elections tell the contrary)