Foreign Fighters from Turkey

While Turkish citizens have traveled to foreign lands and fought in the "war of others" since at least the early 1970s, the scope and pace of foreign fighter mobilization since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war has  been unprecedented. These fighters primarily pursued two opposing ideological goals, risking their lives to take arms either for religious (i.e., ummah and caliphate) or nationalist (i.e., Kurdistan) political projects. Demographic analysis of hundreds of these fighters sheds some light on exactly who these individuals are, where they come from and how they differ from those who left Turkey to fight a generation ago. It also provides some insights about the motives of these individuals. As some of these individuals return home - at times with deadly consequences - understanding these motivations becomes increasingly important. 

Available at https://pomeps.org/2016/11/01/foreign-fighters-from-turkey 

 

Radical Turks: Why Turkish Citizens are Joining ISIS

The past few weeks have seen a wave of Muslims from all around the world joining the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Although most of the attention has been on those coming from the United States and Europe, the bulk of foreign fighters has actually come from Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey. 

While Turkish citizens have traveled to foreign lands and fought in the "war of others" since at least the early 1970s, the scope and pace of foreign fighter mobilization since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war has  been unprecedented. These fighters primarily pursued two opposing ideological goals, risking their lives to take arms either for religious (i.e., ummah and caliphate) or nationalist (i.e., Kurdistan) political projects. Demographic analysis of hundreds of these fighters sheds some light on exactly who these individuals are, where they come from and how they differ from those who left Turkey to fight a generation ago. It also provides some insights about the motives of these individuals. As some of these individuals return home - at times with deadly consequences - understanding these motivations becomes increasingly important. 

 

Turkish Foreign Policy and Homegrown Radicalization in the Post-Arab Uprisings 

An unintended and unforeseen consequence of the Arab uprisings in and after 2010/2011 has been the rise of violent lslamist groups as
formidable forces in Middle Eastern states that descend into vicious civil wars. These groups do not only establish control over sizeable territories but also manage to attract Muslim foreign fighters including a large number of Turkish citizens. This report discusses the impacts of these regional developments on Turkey with a focus on the evolution of violent forms of lslamist activism. A growing number of Turkish citizens have joined the Syrian opposition since 2012. This ominous development is likely to have crucial repercussions for the future of democracy and social peace in Turkey. This report aims to advance public debate on the subject that deserves systematic attention and policies that would contain Salafi Jihadism in Turkey.