News / Middle East

Turkey's Ties With ISIL Continue to Arouse Suspicions

Masked people in guerrilla outfits hold up a poster of of jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan as they demonstrate during the Nowruz celebrations in southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, March 21, 2014.
Masked people in guerrilla outfits hold up a poster of of jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan as they demonstrate during the Nowruz celebrations in southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, March 21, 2014.
Dorian Jones

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants continue to score victories across Iraq. For neighbor Turkey, there is growing concern over ISIL's growing power, particularly in its predominantly Kurdish southeast, which borders Iraq and Syria.

In Diyarbakir, as in the rest of Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are religious.

That, analysts say, and decades of economic underdevelopment and conflict, with the Kurds fighting for minority rights, have helped make the region a fertile recruiting ground for organizations like ISIL.

Young Kurds

Already more than dozen young Kurds from Turkey have died fighting for ISIL in neighboring Iraqi and Syria, according to Muammer Akar, a Diyarbakir city counselor and prominent member of Turkey’s ruling AK Party.

Besides local factors, the region - like the rest of the Middle East - is paying the price for years of religious rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran, he said, adding that ISIL is attracting a growing number of recruits.

Saudi Arabia has spent a significant amount of money here developing a radical form of Sunni Islam called Wahhabism to counter Iran’s influence. Over the years, many Kurdish youths were attracted and have become increasingly radical and closer to committing violence.  

Akar claims funerals in the region for ISIL militants draw large numbers and have become a powerful recruiting tool for the Islamic group.

But critics are accusing the ruling AK Party, which has its roots in Islam, of turning a blind eye to ISIL activities on Turkey's border with Syria because of the party's opposition to the Syrian regime, and because ISIL is fighting Syrian Kurds, who have declared a secular autonomous state on Turkey’s border.

Ankara fears its own restive Kurdish population could make similar demands for autonomy. It has accused the Syrian Kurdish leadership of links to the PKK, which has been fighting the Turkish state for minority rights for decades.

Two hours drive from Diyarbakir, in the town of Cizre, located near the Tukrish, Syrian and Iraqi borders, Deputy Mayor Kadir Konur accuses the ruling party of going beyond tacit support of ISIL.

He said ISIL's resources come from Turkey, citing what he said are numerous instances of trucks leaving Turkey with arms for groups like ISIL.

Many people on Cizre's streets appear to share such concerns, especially for the plight of Syrian Kurds just across the border.

"We are very pessimistic because of ISIL and all the massacres they’ve done in Syrian Kurdistan, he said. The killing of women and children. It is very clear that many ISIL fighters cross the border from Turkey and the AK Party allows this," said a man on the street interviewed by VOA.

Escalating charges

Suspicions of Turkish government involvement with ISIL have been heightened by an anonymously released video showing Turkish soldiers intercepting two Turkish trucks allegedly carrying Syria-bound weapons. The soldiers manhandle Turkish intelligence officers who are in cars escorting the trucks. According to prosecutors, the arms were being sent to radical Islamic groups fighting in Syria.

The government claims the trucks were only carrying aid and strongly denied allegations of gun-running, pointing out that it has designated ISIL a terrorist group. But the prosecutors and soldiers investigating the trucks have now been charged with spying.

Diyarbakir city counselor and AK Party member Muammer Akar said his own party may not be aware of the dangers Turkey is facing.
 
"Ankara doesn’t see the danger, as they are dealing with so many other issues, but we do," said Akar. "It’s only a matter of time before ISIL targets Turkey; since they see us as a country of heretics, they will attack our big western cities."

ISIL videos aimed at Turkish and Kurdish youths continue to appear on the Internet, calling them to join the jihad. Observers are increasingly asking if -- or when -- the war to create an Islamic state will come to Turkey.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John from: London
July 06, 2014 2:28 PM
More than dozen young Turks* from Turkey have died fighting for ISIL in neighboring Iraqi and Syria too... Really bad analyse... Muslims from all over the world have joined ISIL and ISIS... If the kurds become "violent" it's because they would be fighting for their rights and freedom and not for some islamic state!

by: claudia urquiaga from: germany
June 29, 2014 4:56 PM
I do not believe that kurds fight for isil...and with an akp politician stating this less...the akp seems to do everything to bring kurds in a bad reputation...and this article helps them...very bad research..very bad article for kurds..and very bad for article for a future achieving peace between turks and kurds...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs