Extremism and terrorism in contemporary Turkey

Extremism and terrorism in contemporary Turkey
// Pathways to Peace and Security. 2017. No 1(52) Special Issue. Addressing Terrorism, Violent Extremism and Radicalization (perspectives from Russia and the United States). P. 182-204

DOI: 10.20542/2307-1494-2017-1-182-204

Abstract. In this article, a brief background on history of political extremism and terrorism in Turkey is followed by a review of illegal groups that are presently active on its territory as well as those that are either not active, or declared an end to violence, or were crashed by the authorities. Special attention is paid to history and current state of the Kurdish problem in Turkey and in the broader region, and to violent and other activity by the Kurdish Workers’ Party. The article also addresses the problems of countering radical Islamist organizations, both domestic and transnational, and how the Turkish authorities’ approach to the ISIL factor has changed over time. The author concludes that, on the one hand, Turkey faces a range of real terrorist threats to its security posed both by domestic radicals and by transnational terrorist groups and networks. Turkey’s proximity to main regions and base of ISIL’s activity and its role as the key transit untry for mass in-and-out flows of foreign fighters linked to ISIL have resulted in heightened level of terrorist threat to Turkey itself. This became one of the impulses that pushed Turkey to stepping up its control over the Turkish-Syrian border and to a certain review of its position on the conflict management and peace process in Syria, including Turkey’s participation in joint talks with Russia and Iran and in ceasefire control measures in Syria. On the other hand, the fight against terrorism is often used by the Turkish authorities both to counter domestic (religious)-political opposition and to advance ideas of Neo-Ottomanism in the Middle East and in the Turkic world.

Keywords: Turkey, violent extremism, right-wing and left-wing extremism, radical nationalism, radical Islamism, the Kurdish issue, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Turkish Hezbollah, “Hizb-ut-Takhrir”, Islamic Great East Raiders Front, ISIL, Syria, Iraq, Justice and Development Party, Neo-Ottomanism

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For citation:
Nadein-Raevskii V. Extremism and terrorism in contemporary Turkey. Pathways to Peace and Security, 2017, No 1(52) Special Issue. Addressing Terrorism, Violent Extremism and Radicalization (perspectives from Russia and the United States), pp. 182-204. https://doi.org/10.20542/2307-1494-2017-1-182-204

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