EU and Turkey’s Attitudes towards the Fight against the ISIS and Foreign Fighters

EU and Turkey’s Attitudes towards the Fight against the ISIS and Foreign Fighters[1]

Abstract

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) initially emerged in Iraq and due to the Syrian Civil war, has further advanced in the region. The ISIS can be considered both as a local terrorist group that is confined to two countries and a global phenomenon due to the increasing number of foreign fighters –that have joined the ranks of the group– and also due to the threat of terrorism that it has raised for the non-neighbouring regions. In 2014, the UN Security Council issued a number of decisions in order to fight against the ISIS; an international coalition force was established with the participation of more than 60 countries under the leadership of the US. The ISIS also became one of the top issues of the EU agenda throughout the last year. Together with these developments of 2014 –due to the threat of the ISIS and participation of foreign fighters to the organisation–, the terror attacks in France, at the beginning of 2015, have represented the destructive effects of the Middle East policies of the West, particularly of the US, the rise of radicalisation and Islamophobia, and the risk of terror. Within this framework, radicalisation and violent extremism can only be fought through global cooperation and long-term strategies.

Introduction

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was a radical guerrilla group until three years ago. The rapid advance of the group in Iraq and in Syria has demonstrated that radicalisation and violent extremist movements have gained a widespread impact in the Middle East and at a global scale. Radical groups and the threat of terror that have started to climb once again with the ISIS, rank first among EU’s perceptions of global threat. In fact, the terror attacks in Paris at the beginning of 2015 and the spread of the terror alert to the rest of Europe in its aftermath have affirmed the scale of security risk in Europe. The EU has taken additional steps in order to fight against terrorism and violent extremism. EU’s first comprehensive strategy towards the ISIS and foreign fighters is built upon some measures to ward off potential European fighters travelling to both Syria and Iraq and to prevent their involvement in terrorist activities upon return to Europe.

The security threat that the ISIS and foreign fighters bring about for Turkey is higher compared to the EU for various reasons. Turkey’s foreign policy towards the ISIS and foreign fighters is based on ensuring its border security, taking place in international coalitions and the necessity of regime change in Syria. In this sense, the desired cooperation and coherence between the EU and Turkey on the fight against the ISIS and foreign fighters have not yet been well-established.

Thanks to the international coalition –with a foreseen military operation capacity– that was established under the leadership of the US, the expansion of the ISIS has been stopped in some regions of Iraq and Syria.[2] The US government and the allies also confirm that a ground operation in the future against the rapid advance of the group in Iraq and Syria is unavoidable.[3] Additionally, the coalition forces acknowledge that a military operation would not be sufficient alone in order to completely eliminate the threat of the ISIS. As the US President Barack Obama has highlighted, the actual threat that the international coalition is fighting against is “the extremist ideology” of the ISIS.[4] Prevention of the emergence of terrorist organisations in the future, such as the ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra and Boko-Haram, and curbing the global threat of increasing radicalisation would only be possible through an ideological struggle besides military measures.

I. ISIS and Foreign Fighters

1.1. “The phenomenon of 2014:” The ISIS[5]

Having been disunited from al-Qaeda in 2013, “a jihadist organisation” named itself the ISIS[6]  has taken the control of large parts of Syria and Iraq after a rapid advance.  Only in 2014, the world witnessed numerous developments relating to the group, such as the videos demonstrating the brutalities against the Western and Muslim hostages, unstoppable foreign fighters joining the ranks of the ISIS, the huge number of refugees and internally displaced persons in Syria and in Iraq, the torture and inhumane treatment of the local population, –particularly women, by the group in the regions that are under its control–, UN Security Council’s decisions with an aim to stop foreign fighters and an international coalition’s initiation of a military strategy under the leadership of the US.

Since its emergence, the name of the group has taken many forms in Turkish, Arabic and English such as al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil-Iraq wa al-Sham (Da’ish), Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Islamic State (IS).[7] The name of the group has changed according to the power that it has projected in Iraq and in Syria. The group called itself as the al-Qaeda of Iraq when it was first founded in 2004. In September 2006, it named itself as “the Islamic State of Iraq,” in April 2013, as “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” and finally as the “Islamic State” after declaring a caliphate in July 2014.[8] Since the countries in the region and the international actors failed to undertake a timely intervention, the ISIS gained the control of one third of Iraq and Syria thanks to the power vacuum in the region by the end of 2014.

The existing analyses on the group’s emergence and rapid advance contend that the roots of ISIS could be found in the post-9/11 policies of the US in Iraq that disregarded the ethnic, clan-based and religious structures and traditions[9] as well as the apathy in the West towards the Syrian civil war during the Arab Spring.[10] Especially, in Iraq where the ISIS was born, the exclusionary policies of the Shia-dominated government towards the Sunnis benefited mostly the Sunni groups helping it expand towards Syria.[11]

The fact that the majority of ISIS militants have been recruited from the local communities demonstrates the extensive support that the group has received in Iraq and Syria. Additionally, foreign fighters joining the group from different countries around the world have helped the group to increase its impact and change the course of the Syrian civil war.[12] In 2014, with its thousands of fighters from 80 different countries, ISIS has turned itself into “the most dangerous jihadist organisation in the world” well beyond al-Qaeda.[13] According to the predictions, the ISIS has around 50,000 militants in Syria and 30,000 in Iraq.[14]

The ISIS, being different from other radical groups, aims to institutionalise rapidly in the region under its control with an aim to consolidate an Islamic state. Given that the ISIS has already declared a caliphate, the ISIS collects taxes and has introduced administrative arrangements in the regions under its rule; it considers itself as a state.[15] The group has also earned the title of “the richest terror organisation in the world” by seizing the control of the regions with rich oil resources with an aim to extend its sovereignty[16] and to collect income from the sales of oil.[17] According to the estimates, the daily income of the ISIS is around 1-2 million dollars.[18] Moreover, what renders the group much more formidable and dangerous than the other radical terror groups is that the ISIS has started to implement the sharia in some parts of Syria and Iraq and committed crimes against humanity.[19] According to the data collected in December 2014, only in Iraq, the number of displaced Turkmen and Yazidis has reached to 1 million, while deaths due to ISIS attacks are around 6,000.[20]

Moreover, 5,000 Yazidis and more than 1,000 Turkmens died in Iraq; and, 2,500 Yazidi women were either kidnapped by the group or went missing. Besides the human losses, the economic losses have reached tremendous amounts. The cost of the infrastructure that was destroyed or burned by the ISIS in Iraq is more than 7 billion dollars, while the cost of energy is more than 1 billion dollar.[21]

1.2 The Rising Threat to Global Security: Foreign Fighters

Foreign fighters among the ranks of radical groups like the ISIS and al-Qaeda have started to occupy an important part of the international agenda with the terror attacks in France at the beginning of 2015. Certainly, tens of thousands of foreign fighters joining the terror groups in Syria and Iraq from all around the world, particularly from Europe and the other Western countries and the lack of exact information about the identity of a considerable part of those fighters bring about a crucial security threat.

The term ‘foreign fighters’ has come into prominence with the rise of the ISIS terror. However, the term has been in use for people who joined conflicts in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq and Somali since 1980s. Contrary to the common belief, the term is not limited to the definition of people who travel to conflict regions with some Islamic references in order to join jihad. As such, we can come across individuals in the European history who joined conflicts outside their home country for various reasons.[22]  People who flee abroad with an aim to fight in different conflict zones are called foreign fighters in the literature. The UN Security Council Resolution 2178 prefers the term “foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs),” which is defined as “the individuals who travel or attempt to travel from their territories to a State other than their States of residence or nationality, for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts, or the providing or receiving of terrorist training.[23]

The issue of foreign fighters that has attracted the international attention with the ISIS threat has, in fact, emerged as a result of a more serious problem of radicalisation. Although the UN Security Council declared assisting terror organisations as illegal in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks, the emergence of violent groups like the ISIS, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab has demonstrated that the current policies in the fight against global terrorism are not sufficient alone. Consequently, it is generally accepted that the fight against such organisations should be carried out both at the military and ideological levels.[24]

According to the UN Security Council’s report, in the radical organisations in Iraq and Syria (like the ISIS and al-Nusra) 15 thousand foreign fighters from more than 80 countries take part.[25] 60-70 percent of the foreign fighters are from countries of the Middle East, while 20-25 percent of them are nationals of Western countries. Out of 15,000 foreign fighters fighting for the ISIS in Syria, only 7,800 foreign fighters are known by their names. Remaining 7 thousand militants can travel freely like ‘tourists’ with their legal passports and this shows the scale of the foreign fighters’ problem in global level.[26] Most of the foreign fighters holding the EU or USA passports consist of culturally alienated and marginalised people, either second or third generation of immigrants from North Africa, North Caucasus and the Balkans.[27]

The rapid progress of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the ability of the organisation to attract fighters from many different regions of the world obliged to take measures at a global level. The UN Security Council issued two important decisions in order to find a solution to the problem of foreign fighters at the UN level. The UN Security Council Resolution numbered 2178 about the “foreign terrorist fighters” contains “the measures to be taken at the global level regarding the foreign terrorist fighters” in order to prevent participation to the ISIS, al-Nusra and other organisations close to al- Qaeda.[28]

The resolution numbered 2178, predicts cessation of the financial resources of the organisations or groups defined as “foreign terrorist fighters,” prevention of militant participation and restriction of these people from traveling to the countries where the conflicts take place. This resolution, imposes obligation on states to prevent the person, –who has been detected to travel for terrorism purposes–, from exiting or transit passing from the country. Providing new militants and resources from “foreign countries” to these organisations are included in the scope of “serious criminal offences.” In addition, in order to ensure international cooperation against the threat of foreign fighters, countries are asked to share information about the criminal investigation, bans and prosecutions. The UN has the power to impose sanctions and use force to the member countries which do not comply with the resolution numbered 2178 –which has 18 articles– and which are binding for all 198 members of the UN.  Like all the other members, Turkey has to make legal arrangements according to the UN Resolution.[29] The USA which had a leading role in the UN Security Council Resolutions fighting against the ISIS has also formed a coalition force –including the EU and Turkey– to fight against the organisation at a global level.[30]

II. Combat of the EU against the ISIS and Foreign Fighters

Since 2011 when the Syrian civil war started, the EU and the member states, which did not carry out a dynamic foreign policy, attempted to deal with the problem through humanitarian aid policies.  In 2014, the EU member countries, due to ISIS’s rapid advance and the increasing number of the European fighters, placed the ISIS on top of the threat list.

EU’s ISIS policy, that used to be making initiatives for stopping humanitarian crises in the region, turned into a fight against terrorism. However, the EU which has limited legal and administrative capacity –because the member states have the actual authority to combat terrorism– announced the first comprehensive strategy against the ISIS and the foreign fighters after one month over the Charlie Hebdo attack. The first strategy package, –in the scope of anti-terrorism specific to the ISIS that the EU announced–, covers programs to combat radicalisation, prevention of the finance of the terrorism, prevention of foreign fighters, strengthening of the border controls and transportation of the basic services to the refugees.[31]

The EU, which has been contributing to both Syria and Iraq by being a part of the international coalition and humanitarian aids, aims to fight against the ISIS that targets to stop influx of foreign fighters and prevent the radicalisation. It can be seen that the EU members are following an approach that is compatible in general, but differs in details while taking measures against the ISIS.

Unlike USA’s “war on terror” approach, EU’s terror strategy is based on a “fight against terrorism” understanding which means that a fight against terrorism should be based on a long term approach.[32] On the basis of this strategy, there are the rule of law and respect for human rights principles. After September 11 attacks, the EU has published in the Union level, numerous strategy documents and implemented new regulations in order to fight against terrorism and to prevent radicalisation.

The strategy of the EU against terrorism and radicalisation formed in this context –under the threat of ISIS– featured Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) and foreign fighters’ subjects. [33] According to the EU, foreign terrorist fighters and particularly radicalisation of youth are two fundamental and interrelated problems which pose a threat to international peace and security.[34]

In May 2014, after the attack –that caused the death of four people in the Jewish Museum in Belgium–, it was found out that the aggressor is a French citizen who is connected to the ISIS. Together with this incident, ISIS’s increasing influence in the region after capturing the city of Mosul caused the EU and the member states to step up their efforts in order to prevent foreign fighters and radicalisation in their countries.[35] It was found out that some of the perpetrators of the terror attacks –that took place in Paris in the early days of 2015–, used to be European fighters which have been trained in Syria. This fact showed the level of the foreign fighters’ threat in the EU. Indeed, it was understood that the terrorists –who attacked the magazine Charlie Hebdo and a market– were connected to al-Qaeda and ISIS and trained outside of France as foreign fighters.[36]

In the last few years, the number of the European fighters that went to Syria showed a rapid increase in comparison to the previous ones. According to the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator’s data collected in December 2014, the number of the Europeans that joined the ISIS is over 3,000 and this number has an increasing trend.[37] France leads with 700,000 people among the European fighters who joined the ISIS from the EU countries. Britain, Germany and Netherlands follow France (Table 1).[38] The prevailing opinion is that the announcement of caliphate of the ISIS and the support of the EU countries to the military operations has a big role on the increasing participation to the ISIS. This in turn increases the risk of revenge attacks against Europe.[39]

2.1. The Combat against the ISIS and Foreign Fighters in terms of EU Internal Policies

The principles of the EU’s enforcements to prevent the ISIS, foreign fighters and radicalisation are based on anti-terrorism policies. EU’s anti-terrorism policy was formed after September 11 terror attacks. Following terror attacks in Madrid 2004 and in London 2005, anti-terrorism became one of the primary strategic goals of the EU.[40] EU’s anti-terrorism policies are based on cooperation between member states, close coordination between the EU institutions and member states and cooperation that was carried out with the international partners.[41]

The threat of the ISIS forced the EU[42] to take more effective and rapid steps in preventing foreign fighters and violence based extremism with new tools in addition to the existing legislation.[43] Measures taken by the member states target largely preventing the possible ISIS-based terror attacks in their countries and stop the influx of the European citizens from the European countries for joining the organisation as foreign fighters.[44]

The subject of foreign terrorist fighters constitutes one of the fundamental security issues for the EU and its member states because a large number of Europeans are known to go especially to Syria, Iraq and Horn of Africa and the conflict regions beyond with the purpose of jihad.[45] In order to avoid this and prevent the radicalisation in Europe joint efforts are shown in three levels; governmental, intergovernmental and the EU level.[46]

At the EU level, in the last few years in accordance with the traditional security policies for fight against the ISIS and similar organisations, EU and member states’ legal powers greatly expanded in order to prevent Europeans who are trying to go to the conflict regions to fight together with radical groups. The legal powers given to the EU and member states are based on the principle of detecting the crime suspects with judicial investigation and prosecution and moving the action in the scope of the crime to judicial progress. In this context, in EU members like Britain and France, many people who were thought to be foreign terrorist fighters were taken into custody with the suspicion of terrorism.

In addition to the investigation and prosecution carried out on suspicious European fighters, administrative measures –that are applied in the fight against terrorism– increased in most of the European member states. In order to stop the participation to the ISIS and prevent radicalisation, the focus was on these subjects: improvement of the information sharing between the EU states, detecting suspicious travel and passport confiscation, legal regulations including the prevention of traveling to the conflict regions, the decision to expel, considering fund raising as a crime, freezing the assets of suspicious people. In addition to these, measures were taken for closer monitoring the entries and exits of foreign fighters to the Schengen countries[47] –which provides free movement of people among EU’s 26 states. In addition, a project was implemented in order to prevent radical Islamist propaganda through a website –that broadcasts in all European languages, Turkish and Arabic in order to fight against the propagandas that were carried out by organisations like the ISIS.[48] Besides, measures such as reviewing of the EU wide legal legislation about the anti-terrorism and sharing information about the suspicious people among the EU members were implemented.

In recent years, in addition to the expanding the legitimate power of the EU and member states in the fight against the ISIS and likewise organisations, various preventive implementations and rehabilitation programs were developed in the scope of alternative policies together with  punitive measures that are being applied in the fight against radical movements.  For example, Germany is running a program called “Life” with the aim of stopping or slowing down the radicalisation progress with helping the youth who went to Syria for war and came back in order to enable them get jobs or go back to education life.[49]

2.2. EU Member States’ Measures in the Fight against the ISIS and Foreign Fighters

In addition to common policies and measures taken in the EU level, member states have established national strategies in order to find solutions to the ISIS and the problem of foreign fighters. Britain raised the level of the terrorism threat –posed by the European fighters who went to Syria and Iraq and went back to Europe– to the second highest level because of the risk of a terror attack in the country. In the UK, where approximately 500 British citizens are fighting for the ISIS, Minister of Internal Affairs[50] has the right to reject giving passports or the right to cancel passports in case of a threat to the national security.[51]

Germany is one of the most sensitive EU members in fighting against the ISIS. Germany who did not support actively the air attacks, renounced its policy of not sending weapons to the conflict zones –which has been carried out since the Second World War– and it started to send weapons to the Iraqi Kurds for fighting against the ISIS in order to support the international coalition against the ISIS. Germany banned all the propagandas, symbols and organisations about the ISIS[52] in order to prevent the participation of Muslims to the ISIS. Besides, collecting money and materials for the ISIS and particularly gathering men for war was banned and was taken into the scope of crime in Germany.[53] In addition, it was decided to confiscate the ID cards of the radical Islamists which were suspected to flee to Syria and Iraq for war.[54]

France, which has started to play an active role in air operations, enacted a new law on fighting terrorism. The new law targeted to prevent French youth to go to the war zones, brings about temporary ban on leaving the country and it allows the ban to be extended to six months.[55] Three persons’ attack to Charlie Hebdo magazine on 7 January 2015 –that caused the deaths of 12 people– confirmed the magnitude of the threat of radicalisation and foreign fighters in the EU.

Another country which focused on halting the participation to the ISIS is Denmark which took various measures in cooperation with mosque associations and civil society organisations. Some Balkan countries such as Kosovo made some legislative changes which put participation to terrorist groups, encouragement of religious and ethnic conflicts in the scope of crime.[56]

After the Charlie Hebdo attack, the threat of terrorism rose to highest levels in Europe and anti-terrorist operations were initiated. Especially in France, Germany and Belgium, the measures in fight against the terrorism were increased and suspicious people were arrested in the terror operations.

2.3. ISIS in the EU Foreign Policy

The EU which is accused of not undertaking an effective strategy with USA in the Syrian civil war, similar to other global actors, is also blamed for the increase in the instability in the region and the deepening of the humanitarian crisis. On the other hand, the EU, which puts a great emphasis on the chapters of extremism, including terror and violence in its foreign policy,[57]  aims to develop a long-term strategy together with the member countries.[58] The rapid growth of the ISIS forced the EU to construct more effective strategies in its foreign policy understanding and EU members determined a joint position on many issues such as participating the international coalition under the leadership of the US in order to tackle foreign terrorist fighters, supporting Syria and Iraq with the arms aid and increasing the aids for refugees in the countries of the region.

Through the end of the 2014, EU’s aid to people –who suffered due to the attacks in Syria– and to the countries –who accepted the refugees– exceeded 3 billion Euros.[59] The EU also put a number of sanctions into a force against the Assad regime in Syria.[60] In addition to existing restrictive measures, financial benefits of ISIS from the petroleum were blocked. The EU member countries which rarely reached to the common point regarding the security issues began to provide arms to the Kurdish groups for their fight against the ISIS since this action is in the jurisdiction of member countries.[61] The EU also supported decision-making and application process of the UN Security Council’s 2170 and 2178 numbered resolutions regarding foreign terrorist fighters and increased its efforts with the cooperation of countries in the region in order to overcome the threat posed by the ISIS and all other terrorist organisations.[62] All these developments are indicating EU’s level of concern regarding the ISIS and the problem of foreign terrorist fighters

Another important issue which needs to be emphasised in the EU foreign policy for fight against the ISIS is that the EU carefully avoids any discourse against the Islam. While the ISIS terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters have led the Islamophobia rise in Europe,[63] the EU leaders carefully avoid connecting Islam and terror in their discourse and emphasise “terror is not about the religion.” In their struggle with the ISIS, especially considering the alliance of Muslim countries in the region, they underline the alliance of civilisations against the ISIS and terror.[64]

III. Turkey’s Measures against the ISIS and the Foreign Terrorist Fighters

Syrian and Iraqi civil wars in the southern borders of Turkey allowed terrorist organisations to expand their area of activity and then, the region became attractive for the foreign terrorist fighters. For this reason, the ISIS and foreign fighters have a direct and proximate threat to Turkey. The “open door” policy towards the Syrians who tried to come across the border since the beginning of Syrian civil war in 2011 brought Turkey to be more exposed to ISIS-based threats. The appearance of ISIS’s connection with the attack of Sultanahmet at the beginning of 2015[65] and one of the principal actors in the Paris attacks passing Syria through Istanbul,[66] are the most obvious evidences that the ISIS poses a direct threat to Turkey.

The security risk that the ISIS raises for the internal security of Turkey became more obvious with the attack that took place in the Embassy of Turkey in Mosul. The scope of the threat became more apparent with the following issues: the proximity of the organisation’s area of control to Turkish borders in both Iraq and Syria, the organisation’s taking control of some border gates in the region between Turkey and Syria,[67] and especially the appearance of armed conflict in Kobane, –the Syrian city located next to the Turkish border.[68]  The protests of massive movements occurred in Turkey between 6-8 October 2014 regarding the clashes between Kurdish groups and the ISIS in Kobane, the events coming to the point of threatening the ‘Peace Process,’ indicated clearly the influence of the ISIS on Turkish domestic politics alongside with the foreign policy. The attacks in Paris also increased the risk of terrorist attack in Turkey like all around the world.[69]

Alongside with posing the security threat in Turkey, the ISIS is also an actor which weakens the ground of Turkish foreign policy towards the Middle East.[70]  Turkey’s active and multidimensional foreign policy doctrine known as ‘zero problem with neighbours’ became unsustainable in the region where the civil wars continued because of the instability caused by the Arab Spring. Turkey, which has been warning the international community about the increase in terror from the beginning of Syrian civil war in 2011, supports the idea that the Assad regime has lost its legitimacy –which is also the main reason why the terror has been settled in Syria. Turkey is following a foreign policy approach which is based on the understanding that reconstruction process, –including all segments of the society, especially with the collapse of Assad regime and the removal of the ISIS– will bring the end of the civil war.[71]

The ISIS is one of the most important reasons why Turkey could not accomplish its foreign policy goal regarding the political solution in Syria. For this reason, Turkey’s strategy of ISIS is a significant component of Turkish foreign policy towards Syria. Turkish foreign policy understanding suggests that the peace in the region will come with the collapse of the ISIS and the construction of new and democratic structure in Syria.  The foreign policy of Turkey follows the approach that Islamic societies can be ruled by the democracy and that Islam should not be referred together with the organisations like ISIS.[72] In this respect, Turkey’s approach is based on handling the ISIS issue with its political roots in Iraq and Syria and giving priority to the domestic actors in the military struggles.[73] In order to overcome humanitarian problems led by the Syrian civil war and terror, Turkey also demands a buffer zone and humanitarian corridor which will be controlled by the international peacekeeping forces.

In addition to the risks derived from sharing the borders with the ISIS, because of the instability and violence created by the organisation in Syria and in Iraq, Turkey is the top among the countries which were exposed to mass migration wave.[74] According to the official data in 2014, Turkey hosts more than 2 million refugees and spent 5 billion dollars for 1.7 million Syrian refugees. Only in two months, Turkey opened the doors to 192,417.[75] Yazidi refugees who escaped from the conflict between the ISIS and Kurdish groups in Kobane (Ayn el Arap) in Syria and 19,000 Yazidi refugees who escaped from the ISIS in Iraq and Kurdish groups.[76]

The ISIS also imposed burden on Turkish economy in a number of ways. A research that has been carried out on ISIS’s cost to Turkish economy,[77] predicts that the ISIS and Syrian war has cost about 12.5 billion dollars to Turkey, which is a significant part of 35 billion dollars total costs caused by the organisation. Another research indicates that due to the ISIS and Syrian civil war, Turkey’s per capita income decreased by 1.5 percent.[78]

Although Turkey was exposed to all of these problems and has to pay economic, social and security costs due to civil wars in Syria and Iraq as well as the ISIS terror, Turkey was frequently criticised by the European press and governments for being incapable to block the flow of militants to the ISIS on the Syrian border, and being reluctant to intervene in the problem.[79] The US and the EU ask Turkey for better monitoring and blocking the ISIS’ black market oil trading. Especially after the Charlie Hebdo attack, the EU and the member countries increased their expectations from Turkey in terms of fighting against the ISIS and foreign terrorist fighters.

Turkish authorities emphasise that they took necessary measures on the borders in order to block the flow of foreign fighters into the region, while underlining that the conflict takes place in a close proximity to Turkish borders.[80]  Turkey, which added the ISIS to the list of terrorist organisations on October 10, 2013 before the European countries had done and Turkey named the group as ‘terrorist organisation with bloody hands.’ Turkey also claims that it follows the necessary steps required by the national interests for counter terrorism as well as considering the regional stability and humanitarian concerns.[81] Trying to stop the flow of foreign terrorist fighters with the walls and wire fence in some parts of one thousand two hundred kilometre long borders with Iraq and Syria, Turkey does not accept accusations that assert that Turkey allows or overlooks the transition of foreign terrorist fighters to the organisation.[82]

Turkey argues that the threat of foreign terrorist fighters has begun when they left from their countries; therefore, first it is the home countries where the combat against this problem should take place. The primary goal of Turkey is to block the entrance of suspicious people in the country. It has been officially expressed that the home countries ultimately started to share information with Turkey in the recent months since the severity of the threat has increased. [83]

Although Turkey argues that the main responsibility for not preventing the participation of foreign terrorist fighters to joining the ISIS is European countries, it still took a number of measures and made regulations in the scope of struggling against the ISIS. Along with the cessation of income[84] of militants and the institutions –which can be connected to the ISIS–, Turkey increased measures to combat trafficking in the southern border in order to cut the ISIS’ income, and seized 69 million litres of black market oil in the first ten months of 2014.[85] The General Directorate of Security established the Risk Analyst Centre at airports in order to stop foreign terrorist fighters’ participation to the ISIS. They began to detect the European terrorist fighters who went to Turkey through Syrian border and deport them.[86] In Turkey, 4,000 people’s entrance to the country was blocked and 92,000 people were taken into custody in 2013.[87] Based on December 2014 data, more than 7,200 foreign fighters, who tried to cross Iraq and Syria over Turkey, were given the exclusion order. [88] In the last two years, 830 European fighters who intended to join ISIS were deported from Turkey and the research warrant was issued for 2,000 people.[89] From 2011 to December 2014, the number of deported people has reached to 1,050. Since the foreign fighters continue to approach border gates, the concrete walls started to be built to increase security measures on the Turkish-Syrian border.[90]

Despite all the measures that Turkey had taken to avoid foreign fighters, the foreign policy that it has pursued since 2011 –when the civil war started in Syria– and its approach to the ISIS, had been greatly debated in foreign policy analyses and in international press and it had been seriously criticised. Criticism concerning the foreign policy that Turkey pursues generally in the Middle East has a broad range of variety. According to them, the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party) (AK Party) government is claimed to be: pursuing a pro-Sunni sectarian foreign policy, leading up political instability –by bringing up the foreign policy that it conducts in Syria into a part of its domestic politics– and aiming to conduct neo-Ottomanist or Pan-Islamist policies in the Middle East.[91] Turkey is being criticised basically for losing all of the gains –which it had obtained before 2011 by constructing its foreign policy on the wrong axes in the process of Arab Spring– and for being dragged more to the Middle Eastern bog after each development including the threat of ISIS.[92]

The main reason for Turkey’s foreign policy in Syria being heavily criticised and considered to be wrong is that Turkey is not taking into account the Assad regime’s resuming power and that Turkey persistently maintains its policy for bringing down the Assad’s administration during the war –that has continued for four years. As a result of this, Turkey is accused for ignoring the ISIS and other radical Islamist organisations –that have gradually proliferated–; for subsidising directly or indirectly these organisations and for being on ISIS’ side against Kurdish groups.[93] The news regarding Turkey’s cooperation with the ISIS in Syria in various ways, Turkey’s role in deepening the civil war in Syria and its direct or indirect support for the ISIS had been broadly covered in the international press.[94]

Under the influence of criticisms and news pointing out that transition of foreign fighters and weapons from Turkish borders is allowed and that the most of ISIS militants cross the border over Turkey, it can be argued that an anti-Turkey perception has been generated in the international public opinion. Considering Turkey’s position towards the ISIS specific to Syria, it can be seen that there is a merit to a certain extent of this criticism. Even if Turkey’s dilemmas[95] in its struggle with the ISIS and all the measures that it took in the struggle with foreign fighters are taken into consideration, at the present situation, the assessments[96] –concerning that Turkey exhibits a “permissive” attitude to the organisation and that it supported the ISIS against Kurdish groups in Kobane– righteously cause its foreign policy –that is pursued against ISIS in Syria– to be questioned.[97]

 Participation of militants to the ISIS constitutes one of the significant dimensions of Turkey’s policy on the organisation. Despite the assessments about the high levels of participation to ISIS,[98] in the report prepared by “Risk Analysis Centre,” Turkey is ranked after Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Russia, France, Libya and Britain with a thousand people for participation to the ISIS. It is estimated that more people from Turkey join the civil war in Iraq and Syria than the ones that went from Turkey to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Palestine.[99] An academic study that is based on the fieldwork on Turkish fighters –who join the ISIS– claims that more than a thousand people have joined to ISIS “because of the development of Islamic activism and this activism form continues to widespread.” According to the research, radical elements in Turkey easily incorporate ISIS sympathisers into their organisation through civil society channels such as bookstores and mosques.[100]

3.1. The Compliance of Turkey’s Combat Policy against the ISIS with the EU

Turkey that considers the ISIS as a threat for people of the region, international community and itself urges a strong cooperation at the global level on fighting against the ISIS and foreign fighters.[101] Turkey’s “transit country” position for foreign fighters mandates the EU and Turkey to act in a close cooperation. The EU wants to remain in a close cooperation with Turkey to block its citizens to join radical organisations like ISIS as foreign fighters and to prevent those foreign fighters from putting a terrorist act in Europe after returning back.

The prominent point of EU’s statements  pertaining to the matter is that Turkey is in the key position for the influx of foreign fighters from Europe to Syria and Iraq and the existing cooperation between Turkey and the EU ought to be expanded. The EU demands Turkish foreign policy to be harmonised with EU’s Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy and it emphasises too often that political dialogue between Turkey and the EU should be exercised to increase the cooperation against the ISIS and to block the flow of foreign fighters.[102]

Counter terrorism and foreign fighters are one of the primary topics that intensify the regular political dialogue between Turkey and EU and concern both sides.[103] There are several obstacles that hinder both European member states and the EU institutions and Turkey from reaching a desirable level in police and judicial cooperation on counter-terrorism measures: the lack of regulations to protect the data in Turkey despite its active political dialogue with EU; different interpretations on terror by the EU and Turkey and their different sanctions against terror crimes.[104] Due to all these reasons, the level of harmony and cooperation between the EU and Turkey with regard to fighting against the ISIS and foreign fighters is limited. The EU desires to enhance the collaboration, demands from Turkey to develop the adequate measures and to increase the preventing capacity for radicalisation.

IV. Conclusion

The advance of the ISIS, which turned out to be a global security issue by adding foreign fighters from more than 80 different countries and other radical organisations –that pledged allegiance to itself in its lines out of the region. The spread of the ISIS was prevented by applying global decisions that were taken at the end of 2014. The campaign conducted by international coalition powers came to fruition and the air strikes that started in September 2014 weakened the logistical and operational capacity of the organisation. The organisation’s advent had been stopped in most parts of Syria and Iraq and some territories had been taken back from the ISIS in Iraq with the support of the coalition powers’ air strikes.

Nevertheless, the retreat of the ISIS at the end of 2014 does not mean that the organisation can be demolished completely and easily in a short period. The future of the ISIS –that emerged in an instable setting and has rapidly spread–, will take form constitutively depending upon again the developments that will be experienced in these two countries and the attitudes of the international actors pertaining to the developments in the region. The fight that is conducted at the global level against the ISIS requires a ‘continuous, united and coordinated’ combat in order to succeed. One of the most significant issues that the terror attacks which took place in Paris at the beginning of 2015 pointed out that the long term strategies are required to weaken and completely defeat ISIS and similar radical terrorist organisations.

Attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine at the beginning of 2015 raised the terror alarm to the highest level in Europe and illustrated the necessity of conducting detailed analyses on factors that paved the way to the emergence of radical terrorist groups such as the ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra and Boko Haram. Preventing the threats of globally increasing terror and radicalisation and achieving permanent solutions by dealing with the root of the problems can only be possible by conducting a common fight at both military and ideological levels.

Derva Kap, PhD Candidate, Political Science and International Relations Department, Marmara University, İstanbul

Please cite this publication as follows:

Kap, D. (April, 2015), “EU and Turkey’s Attitudes towards the Fight against the ISIS and Foreign Fighters ”, Vol. IV, Issue 4, pp.36-60, Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (ResearchTurkey), London, Research Turkey. (http://researchturkey.org/?p=8601)

V. Endnotes

[1]In the literature, people who travel abroad to different conflict zones with an aim to fight for various reasons are called foreign fighters.

[2]“Kerry: “the advance of ISIS has been halted and retreated at some points”, Euronews, January, 22 2015. [Accessed 2 March 2015]. Available at:

http://tr.euronews.com/2015/01/22/kerry-isid-in-ilerleyisi-durduruldu-bazi-noktalarda-geriletildi/

[3]“White House to request permission to fight ISIS,” CNN, February 6, 2015. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/05/politics/isis-war-authority-vote/

[4]“Fight against ISIS is not only about military measures”, October15, 2015. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.aa.com.tr/tr/dunya/404555–isid-ile-mucadele-sadece-askeri-bir-kampanya-degil

[5]This article is mostly based on references to print media. The aim is to provide a meticulous and objective analysis given the lack of reliable resources on ISIS due to the continuing war in Syria and the limited academic research conducted on the group’s activities.

[6]Iraq Conflict: Islamic State of I raq and Syria (ISIS), Council on Foreign Relations [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.cfr.org/terrorist-organizations-and-networks/iraq-conflict-islamic-state-iraq-syria-isis/p33793

[7]“The many names of ISIS (also known as IS, ISIL, SIC and Da’ish),” The Economist, September, 28 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/09/economist-explains-19

[8]In this article, the name ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)’ has been adopted.

[9]Jim Sisco, “Fighting ISIS (II): To work, this must be more than just a military operation,” October 30, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

 http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/10/30/fighting-isis-ii-to-work-this-must-be-more-than-just-a-military-operation/.

[10]Yüksel Taşkın, “ISIS and the West” Taraf, [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://arsiv.taraf.com.tr/yazilar/yuksel-taskin/isid-ve-bati/31101/

[11]Ibid.

[12]Constanze Letsch, “Foreign jihadists change face of Syrian civil war,” the Guardian, December 25, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/25/foreign-jihadis-syrian-civil-war-assad

[13]“History of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS),” June 11, 2014, BBC Turkish. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/turkce/haberler/2014/06/140611_isid_kimdir.

[14]“Islamic State ‘has 50,000 fighters in Syria.” [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/08/islamic-state-50000-fighters-syria-2014819184258421392.html

[15]Ayşe Karabat, “ISIS wants to become a state,” Al JazeeraTurk, August 25, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/al-jazeera-ozel/isid-devlet-olmak-istiyor

[16]Nick Thompson and Atika Shubert, “The anatomy of ISIS: How the ‘Islamic State’ is run, from oil to be headings,” CNN October 7, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/18/world/meast/isis-syria-iraq-hierarchy/

[17]Terrence McCoy, “ISIS Just Stole $425 Million, Iraqi Governor Says, and Became the ‘World’s Richest Terrorist Group,’ ” Washington Post, 12 June 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/12/isis-just-stole-425-million-and-became-the-worlds-richest-terrorist-group/

[18]Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin, “Self-funded and deep-rooted: How ISIS makes its millions,” CNN Investigations, October 7, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/06/world/meast/isis-funding/

[19]“Yazidi women on the capture by ISIS” Radikal, October 9, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.radikal.com.tr/hayat/ezidi_kadinlar_isid_esaretini_anlatti-1217780

[20]“One million Yazidis and Turkmens flee from ISIS” Trttürk, December 21, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.trtturk.com/haber/1-milyon-ezidi-ve-turkmen-isid-den-kacti-97648.html

[21]“The cost of ISIS is 7 billion dollars,” December 8, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.sabah.com.tr/dunya/2014/12/08/isidin-maliyeti-7-milyar

[22]“Foreign Fighters: An Overview of Responses in Eleven Countries,” Center for Security Studies (CSS), Zurich, March 2014 Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/pdfs/Foreign_Fighters_2014.pdf

[23]United Nations Security Council Resolution, 24 September 2014, S/RES/2178 (2014). [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2178%20(2014)

[24]“Addressing the Foreign Terrorist Fighters Phenomenon from a European Union Perspective, “Policy Brief, Global Centre on Cooperative Security, December 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.clingendael.nl/sites/default/files/Addressing-foreign-terrorist-fighters-phenomenon-EU-perspective.pdf

[25]Constanze Letsch, “Foreign jihadists change face of Syrian civil war,” the Guardian, 25 December 2014, [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/25/foreign-jihadis-syrian-civil-war-assad

[26]“The reality causes the world concern: There are 7 thousand ghost ISIS members,” Radikal, January 13, 2015. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.radikal.com.tr/dunya/dunyayi_kara_kara_dusunduren_gercek_7_bin_hayalet_isidci_var-1271041

[27]Ayşe Karabat, “ISIS wants to become a state,” Al-JazeeraTurk, August, 25, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/al-jazeera-ozel/isid-devlet-olmak-istiyor

[28]Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution Condemning Violent Extremism, Underscoring Need to Prevent Travel, Support for Foreign Terrorist Fighters, 24 September 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://www.un.org/press/en/2014/sc11580.doc.htm

[29]Tolga Tanış, “Turkey’s difficult task,” Hürriyet, September 27, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/dunya/27282015.asp

[30]Justine Drennan, “Who Has Contributed What in the Coalition Against the Islamic State?” November 12 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/11/12/who-has-contributed-what-in-the-coalition-against-the-islamic-state/

[31]“New EU strategy mobilises €1 billion for Syria and Iraq,” European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, http://ec.europa.eu/echo/en/news/new-eu-strategy-mobilises-%E2%82%AC1-billion-syria-and-iraq ; “Council Conclusions on Counter-Terrorism,” European Council. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2015/02/150209-council-conclusions-counter-terrorism/

[32]Burak Tangör ve Sevinç Sayın, “European Union’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy: A New Field for Integration?” Ankara Avrupa Çalışmaları Dergisi Vol: 11, No:1 (Year: 2012), p.87

[33]EU External Action, Counter Terorism. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://eeas.europa.eu/fight-against-terrorism/index_en.htm

[34]Štefan Füle, “EU intervention at the Strengthening Multilateral Engagement on Countering Violent Extremism,” United Nations General Assembly, 23 September 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-14-619_en.htm

[35]Marjon Goetinck,“Radicalisation and Counter-Terrorism Strategies Across Europe,” 10.10.2014, MedeaInstitute. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.medea.be/2014/10/radicalisation-and-counter-terrorism-strategies-across-europe/

[36]“Al-Qaeda’s threat to France,” Hürriyet, January 11, 2015. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/dunya/27928071.asp

[37]Ian Traynor, “Major terrorist attack is ‘inevitable’ as Isis fighters return, say EU officials,” the Guardian, 25 September 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/25/major-terrorist-attack-inevitable-isis-eu

[38]Chris Harris, “Which country in Europe has the most jihadists in Syria and Iraq?” Euronews, 04.11.2014.

[Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.euronews.com/2014/11/04/which-country-in-europe-has-the-most-jihadists-in-syria-and-iraq/

[39]Ibid.

[40]Burak Tangör ve Sevinç Sayın, “European Union’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy: A New Field for ıntegration?” Ankara Avrupa Çalışmaları Dergisi Vol: 11, No:1 (Year: 2012), p.87.

[41]EU External Action, Counter Terrorism. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://eeas.europa.eu/fight-against-terrorism/index_en.htm

[42]EU External Action, Counter Terrorism. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://eeas.europa.eu/fight-against-terrorism/index_en.htm

[43]Charlotte McDonald-Gibson, “EU citizens fighting in Syria pose threat of terror attacks when they return home, says domestic affairs chief,” The Independent, January 2014.

[44]Ian Traynor, “Major terrorist attack is ‘inevitable’ as Isis fighters return, say EU officials,” the Guardian, 25 September 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/25/major-terrorist-attack-inevitable-isis-eu

[45]Štefan Füle, “EU intervention at the Strengthening Multilateral Engagement on Countering Violent Extremism,” United Nations General Assembly, 23 September 2014,

[46]Ibid.

[47]“Jihadist Control on the Borders,” ABHaber, 16 Ekim 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.abhaber.com/ab-sinirlarinda-cihatci-kontrolu/

[48]“Turkish and Arabic sites against ISIS,” Milliyet, November 30, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.milliyet.com.tr/isid-e-karsi-turkce-ve-arapca-site/dunya/detay/1977101/default.htm

[49]“Crackdown on British jihadis to include ‘deradicalising’ scheme from Germany,” the Guardian, 27 August 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/aug/27/crackdown-british-jihadis-youths-german-hayat-home-office

[50]“In Britain, the terror threat level was raised due to the ISIS,” Euractiv, 29 August 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.euractiv.com.tr/abnin-gelecegi/article/ingilterede-teror-tehdidi-seviyesi-isid-sebebiyle-artirildi-030186

[51]“Which country took what measures against ISIS?” Hürriyet, September 24, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/avrupa/27266761.asp

[52]“Germany banned ISIS propagandas,” Euractiv, September 12, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.euractiv.com.tr/abnin-gelecegi/article/almanya-isid-propagandasini-yasakladi-030243

[53]“Which country took what measures against ISIS?” Hürriyet, September 24, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/avrupa/27266761.asp

[54]“Germany will seize the passports of citizens that are suspected to join ISIS” Euroactiv, October 17, 2014.

[55]“Which country took what measures against ISIS?” Hürriyet, September 24, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/avrupa/27266761.asp

[56]Ibid.

[57]EU External Action, “Counter Terorism.” [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://eeas.europa.eu/fight-against-terrorism/index_en.htm

[58]Remarks by EU Council his meeting with NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg, December 3, 2014, Brussels.

[Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://eu-un.europa.eu/articles/en/article_15811_en.htm

[59]European Commision, “Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection,” Syria Crisis, ECHO Factsheet, [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/syria_en.pdf#view=fit

[60]“EU’s new sanctions on Assad regime,” Hürriyet, October 21, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/dunya/27423114.asp

[61]“EU agreed on sending weapons to Iraq,” Euractiv, August 15, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.euractiv.com.tr/abnin-gelecegi/article/ab-iraka-silah-gondermede-anlasti-030115

[62]“EU: We are determined to eradicate the threat of ISIS,” Euroactiv Türkiye, November 17, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.euractiv.com.tr/abnin-gelecegi/article/ab-isid-tehdidini-bertaraf-etmeye-kararliyiz-030584

[63]“The terror of ISIS raised the Islamophobia in the West,” Anadolu Ajansı, September 26, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.aa.com.tr/tr/haberler/395533–isid-teroru-batida-islamofobiyi-artirdi

“10 questions about Islamophobia,” Sabah, January 3, 2015. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.sabah.com.tr/fotohaber/dunya/10-soruda-avrupada-islamofobi/62124

[64]“Federica Mogherini: The fight against the ISIS’s terror strategy might continue for years,” Abhaber.com, December 23, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.abhaber.com/federica-mogherini-isidin-teror-ideolojisine-karsi-mucadele-yillar-surebilir/

[65]“ISIS sent the Sultanahmet bomber!!” Milliyet, January 10, 2015. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.milliyet.com.tr/sultanahmet-bombacisini-isid-gundem-1996749/

[66]“Sultanahmet bomber and Hayat Boumeddiene stayed at the same hotel in İstanbul,” Milliyet, January 17, 2015. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
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[67]“13 gates at the Syrian borders to Turkey are at the hands of 6 organisations,” T24, September 15, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://t24.com.tr/haber/suriyenin-turkiye-sinirindaki-13-sinir-kapisi-6-orgutun-elinde,270746

[68]Burhan Ekinci “They are watching the war in Kobane from the hill,” Tepeden Kobani’deki savaşı izliyorlar,” Al Jazeera Türk, 19 October 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/al-jazeera-ozel/tepeden-kobanideki-savasi-izliyorlar

[69]“MİT Counselor Hakan Fidan: “The risk of attack increased, everybody must keep their eyes open,” CNN Türk. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
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[70]Oytun Orhan, “ISIS, Border Crossings and Turkey,” Ortadoğu Analiz, September-October Vol:6 No:64.

[71]İbrahim Kalın, “What does Turkey want in the war against ISIS?” October 20, 2014, WallStreetJournal. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.wsj.com.tr/articles/SB1200319230805107386450458022581310926555

[72]Davutoğlu: “ISIS poses a threat to Turkey more than others,” Cumhuriyet, September 30, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/siyaset/125209/Davutoglu__ISiD_herkesten_cok_Turkiye_ye_tehdit.html

[73]Şaban Kardaş, “Syria stands at the heart of Ankara’s ISIS plan,” Al-JazeeraTurk, October 11, 2014. . [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
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[74]“A New Tent City in Turkey” , December 22, 2014, Başbakanlık Basın Yayın Enformasyon Genel Müdürlüğü, [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.byegm.gov.tr/turkce/haber/ayn-el-araptan-kacanlara-turkiyede-yeni-bir-cadir-kent/73877

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http://www.aa.com.tr/tr/manset/438368–kobaniye-yardimlari-27-milyon-lirayi-gecti

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http://kdk.gov.tr/haber/turkiye-6-ayda-iraka-625-tir-dolusu-insani-yardim-gonderdi/512)

[77]Elena Ianchovichina ve Maros Ivanic” The Economic Impact of the Syrian War and the Spread of ISIS: Wholoses &How Much?” [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://blogs.worldbank.org/category/countries/jordan

[78]Süleyman Yaşar, “ISIS impoverished Turkey by 1.5 per cent,” Taraf, December 22, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.taraf.com.tr/yazarlar/isid-turkiyeyi-yuzde-15-fakirlestirdi/#

[79]“Time for Turkey to stop sitting on its hands in the face of ISIS threat,” The Independent, October 7, 2014. . [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

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[80]President of the Republic Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, UN Security Council “Speech at the Plenary Session: Foreign Fighters” 24.09.2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://www.tccb.gov.tr/konusmalar/1037/91159/bm-guvenlik-konseyi-yabanci-savascilar-ozel-oturumunda-yaptiklari-konusma.html

[81]“ISIS is a terror organisation with bloody hands,” Sabah, September 25, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.sabah.com.tr/gundem/2014/09/24/isid-eli-kanli-bir-teror-orgutudur

[82]“We did not allow foreign fighters’ cross,” Milliyet, December 10, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.milliyet.com.tr/-yabanci-savascilarin gecisine/siyaset/detay/1982092/default.htm

[83]“ISIS is a terror organisation with bloody hands,” Sabah, September 25, 2014[Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.sabah.com.tr/gundem/2014/09/24/isid-eli-kanli-bir-teror-orgutudur

[84]Resmi Gazete. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2013/10/20131010-1-1.pdf

[85]“More than 7 thousand foreign fighters are banned from entering the country,” Anadolu Ajansı, December 5, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.aa.com.tr/tr/manset/431069–7-binden-fazla-yabanci-savascinin-ulkeye-girisi-yasak

[86]“Turkey detected and deported 1000 Europeans that intended to join ISIS,” Habertürk, October 15, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://www.haberturk.com/gundem/haber/999892-turkiye-iside-giden-1000-avrupaliyi-yakalayip-sinir-disi-etti

[87]Somini Sengupta, “Nations Trying to Stop Their Citizens From Going to Middle East to Fight for ISIS,” September 12, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/13/world/middleeast/isis-recruits-prompt-laws-against-foreign-fighters.html

[88]“More than 7 thousand foreign fighters are banned from entering the country,” Anadolu Ajansı, December 5, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.aa.com.tr/tr/manset/431069–7-binden-fazla-yabanci-savascinin-ulkeye-girisi-yasak

[89]“Turkey sends back 830 European jihadists,” September 11 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-sends-back-830-european-jihadists-.aspx?pageID=238&nid=71565

[90]“Concrete block on Syrian border,” Sabah, April 28, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.sabah.com.tr/gundem/2014/04/28/suriye-sinirina-beton-blok

[91]İlhan Uzgel, “The miscalculation at Sham turned back from Kobane,” Al Jazeera Turk, October 11, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/gorus/samdaki-yanlis-hesap-kobaniden-dondu

“Turkey’s foreign policy: nasty neighbourhood,” the Economist, August 2 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21610328-regions-most-brutal-islamists-inflict-pain-its-moderate-ones-nasty-neighbourhood

Behlül Özkan, “The collapse of Davutoğlu’s Pan-Islamist foreign policy.” [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://behlulozkan.com/the-collapse-of-davutoglus-pan-islamist-foreign-policy/

[92]İlhan Uzgel, “The miscalculation at Sham turned back from Kobane,” Al Jazeera Turk, October 11, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/gorus/samdaki-yanlis-hesap-kobaniden-dondu

[93] Patrick Cockburn, “Whose side is Turkey on?” London Review of Books, October 24, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
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[94]David L. Phillips, “ISIS-Turkey Links”, Huffington Post. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-l-phillips/research-paper-isis-turke_b_6128950.html

Barney Guiton , “ISIS Sees Turkey as Its Ally’: Former Islamic State Member Reveals Turkish Army Cooperation,” Newsweek, 11.7.2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.newsweek.com/isis-and-turkey-cooperate-destroy-kurds-former-isis-member-reveals-turkish-282920

[95]Fehim Taştekin, “Turkey’s stalemates at the war against the Islamic State,” September 7, 2014, Al Monitor. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/tr/originals/2014/09/turkey-iraq-syria-is-usa-europe-hostages.html#

[96]Meysa Abdo, “A Town Shouldn’t Fight the Islamic State Alone: Turkey’s Obstruction of Kobani’s Battle Against ISIS,” the New York Times, October 28, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/opinion/turkeys-obstruction-of-kobanis-battle-against-isis.html

[97]Cengiz Çandar, “The hostage of whom, whose and what?” Radikal, September 24, 2014.  [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.radikal.com.tr/yazarlar/cengiz_candar/kim_kimin_ve_neyin_rehinesi-1214484

[98]Ceylan Yeginsu, “ISIS Draws a Steady Stream of Recruits From Turkey,” September 15, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/16/world/europe/turkey-is-a-steady-source-of-isis-recruits.html

“The participation to ISIS from Turkey is intense,” Habertürk, June 12, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.haberturk.com/gundem/haber/956950-turkiyeden-iside-katilim-yogun

[99]“Turkey detected and deported 1000 Europeans that intended to join ISIS,” Habertürk, October 15, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.haberturk.com/gundem/haber/999892-turkiye-iside-giden-1000-avrupaliyi-yakalayip-sinir-disi-etti

[100]Güneş Murat Tezcur and Sabri Çiftçi, “Radical Turks Why Turkish Citizens are Joining ISIS,” Foreign Affairs, November 11, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/142352/gunes-murat-tezcur-and-sabri-ciftci/radical-turks

[101]“We did not allow foreign fighters’ cross,” Milliyet, December 10, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:

http://www.milliyet.com.tr/-yabanci-savascilarin-gecisine/siyaset/detay/1982092/default.htm

[102]Council Conclusions on Enlargement and Stabilisation and Association Process, December 16, 2014. [Accessed 2 March 2015], Available at:
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/genaff/146326.pdf

[103]Turkey 2014 Progress Report, European Commission, p.72.

[104]Turkey 2014 Progress Report, European Commission, p.66.

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