A Turkish counter-terrorism official’s teenage son has been arrested over coup charges after his father implied the country was providing support to terror group ISIS.
Ahmet Yayla, who served as the chief of the Counter-Terrorism and Operations Division of Turkish National Police between 2010 and 2012 and as the chief of the Public Order and Crime Prevention Division later, resigned from his post after he allegedly saw the government providing the extremists with weapons.
In 2015, he sought asylum in the United States and taught the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement how to combat ISIS.
Yayla was able to escape from the Islamic State but came under the radar of the Turkish government after he wrote a book called “ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate.” It claimed that Turkey not only provided arms and explosives to ISIS fighters, but also allowed them free passage over borders until 2015.
Now, Yayla’s 19-year-old son, Yavuz Selim Yayla, has gone missing.
On July 22, days after the article was published, Yavuz was pulled off a bus and arrested, when he was leaving the country for vacation, over a trumped up charge of carrying a U.S. dollar in his pocket. According to Yayla, the Turkish government thinks that Fethullah Gulen, the alleged mastermind behind the coup, communicates with his supporters in Turkey through the serial numbers on dollar bills.
Yet Yayla denies having any link to the exiled cleric.
Yavuz was able to get his freedom two months later after he argued he earned the dollar bill from a tourist while he was performing with his guitar on the streets, but disappeared before he even got home. Yayla hired a lawyer to track him down who found out his son was arrested yet again before he was even able to walk out of the prison gates. A different judge reviewed his case and decided he was indeed a terrorist coup plotter because his passport had been revoked over his association with his father.
Yayla needed to find an honest lawyer but many of those were already purged after the failed coup attempt. The Turkish authorities threatened the lawyer he hired, causing her to return his fee and apologize for not fighting for his son. She feared being arrested too.
Since then, teams of counter-terrorism officers have been sent to Yayla’s father’s house. They have ransacked it in an attempt to find something of a suspicious nature. His father has also been questioned thoroughly about Yayla.
Yayla has now requested the American government help him rescue his son.
“We will keep your son in mind, and I hope whoever is reading this testimony in Turkey understands that we know who your son is. It will not escape our attention if he… continues in captivity,” said California Republican Dana Rohrabacher, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs’ Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee.
However, legislators have yet to comment how they will pull this off.
Emails to the Turkish Foreign Ministry did not get any response either.