Emphasising that he knows ISIS' mentality Mahalli said “ISIS always had a strategic and emotional attachment to Cyprus”. Mahalli says that the history of this special “connection” to Cyprus goes back to the Syria Social-Nationalist Arab Party and their “Fertile Crescent “ map.
In this map Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Mosul form the crescent and Cyprus is the star in the map. According to Mahalli ISIS is taking ownership of this heritage by including Cyprus in their plans.
Mahalli also warned the politicians and said that they have to be extra attentive to foreign policy and international developments.
“Every political development in Cyprus has an international component, so Cypriot politicians should pay attention to the recent developments in the region and they should be more equipped with a good knowledge of the regional dynamics. Everything in Cyprus is related to external dynamics. You can not talk about solution or politics in general without taking regional dynamics into account”.
According to Mahalli the recent news about the possibility of UK bases in Cyprus will be used for US airstrikes on ISIS, are not far from reality. “Greek Cypriot press also covered the news and possible scenarios, I can tell you that those news were not manipulation” warned Mahalli.
Mahalli also added that generally radical islamists do not recognize national borders and so that it is natural for ISIS to have their eye on the lands where there is Muslim population.
ISIS wants to find an opportunity to extend its operations to Cyprus said Mahalli and noted that Islamic Development Bank, El-Baraka and Kuweit Turk Banks are directly and indirectly supporting ISIS' activities.
“ISIS is very quickly and seriously mobilising in the region. ISIS have many hidden centres in Turkey. This is a common knowledge, we say 'hidden' but they don't even to try to hide it. One should not be surprised by that fact that ISIS has an eye on Cyprus. The ISIS who are organized in Turkey are closely following Turkey's policy on Cyprus. They want to make investments and benefit from Cyprus financially.”
At the end of our interview Mahalli also reminded that Cyprus has a spiritual significance for the Muslim world as the first destination of the Islamic voyages and that this significant place in Muslim collective memory gives an extra reason to ISIS to have an eye on Cyprus.