In the past year, ISIS and other terror groups have staged a series of at least 14 major attacks in Turkey, culminating in the recent Atatyrk Airport assault that left 43 people dead and 238 injured. Why is Turkey being targeted?
As Jules Suzdaltsev explains in today's Seeker Daily briefing, Turkey is in a unique and precarious position. The country borders both Syria and Iraq, where ISIS and other radical groups maintain multiple strongholds. Turkey has openly opposed ISIS, as well as the Syrian government and certain Kurdish groups, triggering retaliatory attacks.
Turkey's involvement in the Syrian civil war goes back to the early days of the Arab Spring. When war broke out between the Syrian government and rebel factions, Turkey backed the rebels, allowing militant fighters to move freely through the country and into Syria.
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However, experts not content that the majority of those fighters moving through Turkey are now joining the Islamic State. In 2015, Turkey made several official policy changes designed to crack down on domestic ISIS networks and strengthen border security. The increased terror attacks in the country are almost certainly a response from ISIS and ISIS-inspired groups to the new Turkish policies.
Turkey has other issues, too. The government's long-standing conflict with Kurdish militants continues to smolder and flare. The violent rebel group known as the PKK tends to target police and government agencies and Kurdish militants are believed to be behind as many as eight of the recent attacks in Turkey.
In addition to all of this, Turkey is in the midst of a massive refugee crisis as it takes in millions of Syrian refugees. Turkey has agreed to admit those seeking refuge in Greece in exchange for an accelerated path to membership in the European Union. The country also recently normalized relations with Israel, which angered ISIS and other groups.
It all adds up to a dangerously volatile situation for Turkey.
-- Glenn McDonald
BBC: Istanbul Ataturk airport attack: 41 dead and more than 230 hurt
New York Times: Airport Attack in Istanbul Is the Latest in a Year of Terror in Turkey
CNN: Understanding Turkey's deadly catalog of enemies
RT: Istanbul attack - result of 'complex & dangerous situation in Turkey'