LEADING NEWS SOURCE FOR TURKEY AND THE REGION

LOCAL > HDN columnist had sounded warning on possible attacks in Turkey

Hürriyet Daily News

Print Page Send to friend »
DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SONMEZ

DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SONMEZ

HDN columnist Nihat Ali Özcan had warned last week that Western interests in Turkey could come under attack.

The following is his column, which was originally published Jan. 24.

Jihadists in Syria and western targets in Turkey

Nihat Ali Özcan

Many victims lost their lives in last week’s Jihadist attack in Algeria. Everyone, especially the citizens, governments and companies of Western countries situated in isolated regions with compromised security, should be alarmed by this terrorist attack.

The history of radical armed movements in the Middle East does not start with the Arab Spring. However, the Arab Spring did provide fertile ground for these movements. Information at hand shows that it won’t be a surprise if terrorist attacks like the one in Algeria occur more frequently.

France’s military operation against radical Islamists in Mali reflected an asymmetric struggle that is bound to continue into a new phase. Let’s not forget that the jihadists in Mali gained more power and capacity with the events in Libya, such as the murder of the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi.

The dispersal of ideas, arms, militias and combat experience in Libya is likely to repeat in Syria. The target will, of course, be Western interests.

As Assad’s army withdraws and the armed opposition takes control of arsenals, weapons and explosives – probably including chemical weapons – will fall into the hands of militias who will eventually be better at using military equipment. This development will surely boost jihadist motivations and escalate the conflict.

As the civil war in Syria continues, many Jihadist candidates – not only from Turkey but around the world – sign up for fighting. It is possible to observe the speed of this enlistment process and the basic motivation of the candidates on the internet. Certainly they are not going to Syria for democracy-building. It seems that the Western discourse built around the image of the dictator Assad is very different from the Jihadists’ stories on the battlefield.

In the near future, the West and Turkey will have to face a serious Jihadist challenge, regardless of the outcome of the Syrian civil war. Reasons for this are as follows: First, the Turkey-Syria, Syria-Lebanon and Syria-Jordan borders are not being controlled. Arms and armed militants can come and go easily. Secondly, the state authority in Syria is weakening. Thirdly, jihadists are becoming more local. Local network-building continues unfettered and they are more capable of enlisting Turkish citizens. Fourthly, Turkey is full of Western targets of the kind that whets the Jihadist appetite. Remember the 2003 bombings of the HSBC Bank, two synagogues and the British consulate. Finally, the Turkish government’s hatred of Assad causes it to tolerate the radical opposition in Syria.

The real question is this: Will governments, companies and other interested parties learn from the event in Algeria or will they act like nothing happened and wait for similar, new crises?

February/01/2013

PRINTER FRIENDLY Send to friend »

READER COMMENTS

Notice on comments

Baris

2/2/2013 2:34:09 AM

Kasim Kadir, the bomber is Ecevit Şanlı, a DHKP-C member. Clearly you know nothing about the DHKP-C. They've used suicide bombers before - Sept 2012 in Istanbul (Sultangazi), Sept 2001 in Istanbul (Taksim), 2005 attempted suicide bombing in Ankara. PKK is also a leftist group and they often deploy suicide bombers. So, Kasim Kadir, what are you talking about? It is highly unlikely this had anything to do with Syria. Ömer Güney is from a nationalist family but he is linked with the PKK.

Kasim Kadir

2/1/2013 7:27:00 PM

@Baris: What are you talking about!Nihat was right!Since when do leftist groups use suicide-bombings as a technique?This was a Jihadist attack,that was probably made by the same people that Turkey supports in Syria!The Turkish officials are full of lies!They lied when it came to Paris-killings (It turned out that Ömer Guney is and Arch-nationalist from Sivas) they lie now!

Foreigner .

2/1/2013 6:36:11 PM

Seems like he missed the address by a mile...it is the leftists this time. Still, terrorism is terrorism and should be condemned wether it is ideology derived or state sponosred or supported, e.g. by Western countries in relation to PKK.

Baris

2/1/2013 6:32:01 PM

Are we to believe that DHKP-C is now working for the Jihadists? The attack against the American Embassy / Turkish police is more than likely to be a retaliation against the recent police crackdown on the DHKP-C.
< >

MOST POPULAR

AcerPro S.I.P.A HTML & CSS Agency