Turkey’s ISIS Problem

The attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport in June 2016 indicates that the ISIS threat to Turkey is transforming from a sole criminal issue to a long-term strategic concern.

Turkey has faced serious security challenges for the past two years. The reemergence of PKK terrorism fed by ethnic radicalization and the ISIS terror campaign based on religious radicalization have constituted a common offensive front against Turkey. The attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport on June 28, 2016, proved that this multilateral threat has reached its peak in terms of planning and organization, sophistication and the strategic impact on the future of Turkey’s security. The attack, in which the death toll exceeded 40, with more than 150 wounded, indicates that the ISIS threat to Turkey is transforming from a sole criminal issue to a long-term strategic concern.

There are three main reasons behind the transformation of the ISIS threat against Turkey: first, the overwhelming and rapid evolution of ISIS attacks in Turkey; second, the ISIS strategy of gaining ground in Turkey by forming and expanding cells committed to itself; third, the beginning of ISIS’s direct targeting of Turkey as a whole because of Turkey’s increasingly harsh measures against the organization, both within and outside of the country.

 

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[Politics Today, July 12, 2016]

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