Turkey’s Fight Against ISIS

Turkey, due to its geographical position neighbouring Syria and Iraq and the long land border it shares with them, has been a country affected by radicalisation of different actors and terrorist attacks carried out by them to a great extent. As a consequence of its fight against various terrorist organizations for more than four decades including ASALA, DHKPC, PKK, and ISIS, Turkey has long been a key actor in terms of global security as well as a key partner in global counter-terrorism efforts. In the last decade, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has become one of the major security concerns of the international community with the group’s direct military advances especially in Iraq and Syria as well as due to the presence and activities of its affiliates all over the globe. Accordingly, since 2013, Turkey has been an active player in terms of the global fight against ISIS as one of the first countries designating the group as a terrorist organization long before its military advances on the ground. Within this context, in this study, the group’s emergence and rise as well as its diminishing power and physical presence recently will be discussed. Following that, how Turkey responded to this threat with both hard and soft measures will be mentioned. As two concepts becoming more and more important lately, namely Foreign Terrorist Fighters and “returnees” and Turkey’s measures and performance fighting them will be touched upon. Consequently, the current situation both within and out of Turkey and possible next steps in line with the group’s transformation will be discussed.