News / Middle East

Tensions Grow Between Turkey, Radical Islamist Group Fighting in Syria

FILE - Fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria.
FILE - Fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria.
Dorian Jones
Tensions between Ankara and the radical group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, have continued to escalate. The Turkish army recently attacked an ISIS convoy and ISIS has targeted ethnic Turkmen leaders in Syria. Ankara is increasingly concerned that ISIS could now strike Turkish targets.
 
Turkish media reported that ISIS claimed responsibility for the killing four Turkmen leaders in Syria this week. The Turkmen, who are ethnic Turks, are supported by Ankara and engaged in heavy fighting with ISIS. The attack is the latest escalation in tensions between Ankara and the radical Islamic group. Last week, the Turkish army attacked an ISIS convoy close to its border after it said its forces came under attack.

Analyst Sinan Ulgen of Carnegie Europe in Brussels says the attack is an indication that Ankara is taking a more cautious policy towards the radical Islamic groups operating in Syria.
 
"This strike demonstrates that there is now willingness on the side of the government in Ankara to consider this threat much more carefully. There was a clear threat from ISIS, and ISIS is now more viewed under those terms," he said. "Al-Nusra, on the other hand, is also one of the extremist groups, but we have not seen the type of direct threat from al-Nusra to Turkish interests and the Turkish state."

Observers say Ankara has become alarmed at ISIS's growing strength along the Syrian border and its attacks other opposition groups. During a visit to Tehran last month,  Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned terrorist acts in Syria, and his comments were widely interpreted as being aimed at ISIS.

During a press conference last month, Bulent Yildirim, the head of the Turkish aid charity Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or IHH, which has close ties to Turkey’s ruling AK Party, strongly criticized ISIS for interfering in its relief efforts in Syria.
 
He said, "We can’t deliver aid to areas controlled by ISIS, he said. They have kidnapped two of our workers and executed one of them. If they saw a picture of this press conference with Western journalists, they would condemn us as heretics."
 
According to analyst Ulgen, Ankara’s hardening stance towards ISIS comes from its realization that the group poses now a direct threat to Turkey.
 
"Once they perceived that Turkey has shifted its position and is not willing to support ISIS, that is the reason why they are bound to be more reactionary to Turkey and threaten Turkey. ISIS is one of those groups that allegedly has threatened the Turkish government with suicide attacks within Turkey," he said.

Citing Turkish security forces, local media have reported that as many as 50 ISIS suicide bombers could be in Turkey. The Syrian opposition based in Turkey is suspected of being potential targets.

Kadri Gursel, a diplomatic columnist for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet and Al Monitor website, says the specter of suicide attacks in Turkey puts the spotlight on the consequences of the AK Party’s Syria policy.

According to opinion polls, Prime Minister Erdogan’s policy of strongly backing the Syrian opposition is deeply unpopular even among his own supporters. With the country entering an 18-month election cycle, starting with key local elections next month, observers warn the prime minister could pay a high price for his Syria policy.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
February 05, 2014 10:24 PM
This is a very sad affairs when time come to recapture power once again they make U turn as to grap power for their own entertainment in life. How many innocent peoples have been killed by these terrorist group very well supported by Turkey,Qatar, Saudi Arabia and champions of civil lebrty. What ever religion we follow do we think GOD will not ask question on day of judgement why you killed so many peoples for your own pleasure and satisfaction. God gave us power to serve human beings not to create pain, tention and endless tearssssssssss in their life.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid