Islamic State Increases Pressure In Turkey
Islamic State are believed to be responsible for a suicide bombing that has killed 30 and injured a further 90. The blast, in the Turkish City of Gazientep, is the latest in a number of atrocities linked with the group. The increase in terror comes after the Turkish Coup and announcements that there will be joint Turkish-Russian and US-Russian operations against the so called Islamic State organisation.
President Erdogan has stated that the explosion was the responsibility of the Islamic State group. The bomb, set off at a wedding celebration, has killed at least 30 and injured 90 more. The death toll may rise. On 15th August, Islamic State were responsible for a bomb on a bus at a border crossing at Atmeh that killed 50.
Islamic State appears intent on expanding into Turkey. Only last week, on 17th August, it issued, via it’s Turkish language magazine, articles about the Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen and President Erdogan. The articles relate to recent events in Turkey and denounce both men as being idol worshippers and infidel.
Articles such as these will create political problems. Gulen has previously been accused by Erdogan of having links with Islamic State. His followers have been widely accused of being responsible for the failed Coup and many are now in custody in Turkey. It is not the first time that Islamic State have chosen to stir up political hostility in the country. In 2014, they threatened to ‘liberate’ Istanbul.
At a time when tensions are running high in Turkey, this will do little for stability. Turkey is a secular nation. It was formed on that basis and there have been numerous actions taken to keep it that way, despite a large and vocal conservative Islamic movement. The secular nature of the constitution is seen by many as being required to prevent Turkey from facing the kind of turmoil that exists so close to her Eastern borders.
As the Turkish establishment deals with the aftermath of the Coup, it is likely that Islamic State will make more attempts to embed itself in the nation, or to create havoc their. This would fit in with their model of expansion and the opportunity certainly presents itself both politically and geographically at the moment.