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

Russia Names US NGO 'Undesirable'

Prosecutors determine activities of National Endowment for Democracy to be 'undesirable,' paving the way for it to be outlawed on Russian territory More

Erdogan Vows 'Anti-Terror' Campaign in Syria, Iraq

Erdogan expressed confidence the 'necessary steps' will be taken by NATO leaders, who will meet Tuesday at Turkey's request More

North Korea: 'No Interest at All' in Nuke Deal

Senior US envoy Sydney Seiler visits Beijing Tuesday for talks on how to revive the stalled six-party nuclear talks with North Korea 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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs