Turkey, the easiest target for ISIL

Turkey, the easiest target for ISIL

According to intelligence reports, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will want to carry its ongoing war to the West when gets in more trouble in Iraq and Syria. When we say “the West,” we also need to include Turkey, as Turkey must look like an even easier target for ISIL compared to other targets in the West.

The root cause of this is that geographically Turkey is a neighbor of ISIL’s arms and human resources. We host around 3 million refugees living inside our borders. The control of them is very difficult and it is impossible to know how many are ISIL “sleeper cells.” Even more dangerous is the fact that Turkey is a center of recruitment for ISIL. 

At the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the calculation that the Bashar al-Assad regime will be toppled quickly led to the facilitation of jihadist groups’ activities. Our border was open to member and arms passing in and out. This allowed jihadist organizations, including ISIL, to find the means to organize within Turkey. 

A report in the New York Times, based on intelligence reports, said Turkey was an important logistical center for ISIL militants. A significant number of foreign militants have joined ISIL by traveling through Turkey. They communicate with their families through phone cards bought in Turkey. When they send or receive money to and from their families, they use Western Union branches in Turkish cities near the border. 
When ISIL was still on the rise, the wrong evaluation of officials about its “temporariness” also prevented necessary measures from being taken on time. 

Let us also not forget the underestimation of the number of Turkish citizens joining ISIL in cities such as Adıyaman, Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep. We know that no measures were taken, despite families’ complaints and appeals. 

On the other hand, Turkey is a very fertile land for ISIL recruitment. According to the research company PEW’s annual global trends survey, 8 percent of Turkey’s population feels “sympathy” to ISIL. What is being done to prevent today’s sympathizer from becoming tomorrow’s active member? Nothing, of course. 

More interestingly, the PEW survey says 19 percent of Turkey’s population has “no opinion” about ISIL. This is a group that beheads people, throws human beings down from tall buildings, buys and sells women as slaves, and has attacked Turkey numerous times with bombs. Yet still 19 percent of the population says it does not know whether they should sympathize with or hate this organization. 

I have asked this before: What percentage of fundamentalists in Turkey would not hesitate, if given the opportunity, to exert ISIL methods on opponents, democrats, secularists, Alevis, Kurds and LGBTI individuals? 

According to what they write in their newspapers and what they say in their television stations, the rate of sympathy for ISIL must be higher than the 8 percent. 

For all these reasons, Turkey is a more defenseless and open target for ISIL compared to other Western countries.

Whose fault is it that this climate has been formed? The institution that should look into this is parliament, but the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which constantly emphasizes the “national will,” recently rejected a motion for a parliamentary inquiry on the question.

Why do you think AKP never likes these investigations? Why does it not allow these matters to be investigated? 

So, it was this easy

After speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin has given orders and work has started to lift the embargo on Turkey. Tourism groups that bring Russian tourists to Turkey are expected to yield any changes in figures within one month. 

So, it was this simple all along. An apology letter and a call were enough…

Russian sanctions against Turkey went into effect six months ago, at the beginning of the year. We will soon be able to learn how much those sanctions cost our country. We will also learn how many people have lost their jobs and how many people have been unable to pay their debts. 

What we will never be able to learn is why and on what assessments things were able to reach this point.  

Seeing that this issue was able to be solved this easily, why did the president and the government wait until today? If this issue was always going to be solved through diplomacy, why did they deliver those heroic, epic speeches? Instead of resorting to diplomatic paths on the day the plane was shot (Nov. 24, 2015), as well as the aftermath, why was it was dealt with at public rallies? 

So which move was right? To shoot down a plane for a couple of seconds of violations and then argue over it, or to talk about the incident in a civilized manner to solve further problems?