The relationship between Turkey & ISIS – Islamic State

ISIS - Islamic State rally in the town of Fatih, in Istanbul - the photo have taken by Erk Acarer - Cumhuriyet Newspaper's journalist
ISIS – Islamic State rally in the town of Fatih, in Istanbul – the photo has taken by Erk Acarer – Cumhuriyet Newspaper’s journalist

Each day we began to hear that Turkish authorities often turn a blind eye to terrorism in Turkey especially in the customs gates and borders. How and why Turkish government (ruling party – AKP) has the image of terrorism supporter in national and international arena? Turkish government played the key role by empowering the fanatic religious groups (such as; IHH – Humanitarian Relief Foundation) at the national level and did not take measures to prevent religious extremism. On the contrary, government used those groups to strengthen its own power in order to extend its own ideological views (Sunni Islam) and defend its own political interests both nationally and internationally.

Additionally, the government overtly support certain groups (specifically IHH) to manipulate the religious terms (such as; jihad) even tough, they do not have adequate Islamic knowledge. Those who claim to be a martyr in the name of God by fighting against West or much recently Israel became very popular and acceptable in Turkish society. Nevertheless, Turkish government purposely and intentionally became part of this period. As a result, religious fundamental groups have been blatantly encouraged and supported by the government in order to create more conservative and religious society.

Turkish support to radical religious groups did not only limited by national extreme groups but also jihadists terror groups in Syria such as Al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat Al-Nusra and ISIS – Islamic State. In addition, Turkish government had strong relationships with Hamas and Muslim Brothers (considered terrorist organisation by Russia, Egypt, USA, Canada, EU, UK) regardless of international reaction. Turkish ruling party – the AKP was accused of providing military supplies, basic first aid & medical materials, logistic support to radical groups under the name of humanitarian aid. Cooperation between those groups and Turkey does not simply depend on Turkey’s position against Asad regime in Syria. Turkey’s radicalism period has already started with its own way by promoting anti-foreigner and anti-semitic motives in the pro-AKP media and political field by using Sunni backgrounded tongue both in national and international arena by targeting non-Sunni communities and people.

Especially after the tension in Davos (clash between Turkish President Erdogan and Israeli President, Shimon Peres) and Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, Turkish religious radicalism increasingly backed and tolerated by the government organs (law, legislation, bureaucracy) in all fields. Those people who have consciously use religious fundamentalism, divided the society in Turkey as non-believers (secularists, Alevis and more recently Kurds) and believers although 99 per cent of the Turkish population identified as Muslim on the identification certificates. ISIS – Islamic State terrorism is a result of hidden and ongoing agenda of religious fanaticism and radicalism that have been promoted over ten years during the AKP ruling time.

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ISIS - Islamic State related religious ceremony in Istanbul, in Turkey
ISIS – Islamic State related praying ceremony in Istanbul, in Turkey
About the Author
Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Gurkan is an Oxford BA (Hons) graduated and pursuing a double master's in International Political Economy at Warwick & Strategic Studies at NTU in Singapore. He is also a published poet.