By Ben Makuch
Turkish National Gendarmarie car. Photo via Flickr user Dave Conner
This post originally appeared on VICE Canada.
If a report from a Turkish daily newspaper is to be believed, the Turkish government, long suspected of supporting ISIS in its war in Syria and Iraq, has a Canadian intelligence agent in its custody.
According to the Daily Sabah, Turkish authorities arrested the agent after they helped three British girls recently join the ranks of the Islamic State. Speaking to Turkish television on the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq from the Turkish border, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu accused a member of a foreign intelligence service of helping to ferry those British girls into the warzones of northern Syria.
« We were informed by Britain about three girls who left to join ISIS a few days after they departed for Turkey, » said Çavuşoğlu during the interview. « This person was working for the intelligence service of a country participating in the coalition against ISIS. This country is not the United States or a member of the European Union. I told this to the British foreign secretary and he replied ‘as usual. »
The Daily Sabah reports that several Turkish media outlets claim that the individual currently in detention is a Canadian, while it is known that the current coalition against ISIS includes Canada, Australia, and other Arab countries within the region.
A spokesperson for the Minister of Public Safety said the department is « aware of these reports, » but added « (w)e do not comment on operational matters of national security. »
The report comes on the heels of expanded foreign spying powers for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and Bill C-51 that promises to bolster the legal capabilities of law enforcement agencies to surveil and arrest terrorist threats in Canada.
VICE Canada has reached out to CSIS, Turkish diplomatic officials in Canada, and the Foreign Affairs department, but has yet to receive a reply.