B2 High-Intermediate 196 Folder Collection
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On June 28, 2016, three explosions at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport left 43 people dead and 238
injured. Although nobody has yet to claim responsibility, officials from Turkey and
the United States have said that early evidence points to the Islamic State. In the last year,
ISIS and other terror groups have staged at least 14 attacks across Turkey, killing roughly
280 people. So, why has Turkey been victim to so many terror attacks?
Well, Turkey is uniquely vulnerable. The country borders Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic
State and other terror groups have strong footholds, and it has taken in more than two-and-a-half
million Syrian refugees, more than any other country. Turkey has also opposed and fought
ISIS, as well as the Syrian government and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, and their
Syrian affiliates
Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian civil war began during the 2011 Arab Spring. Turkey’s
then Prime Minister, now President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan [reh-JEHP  t-eye-YEEP  ERR-doh-ahn]
called Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s crackdown on anti-government protesters an
“injustice” not unlike Hitler’s tactics in Nazi Germany. Soon after, war broke out
between the Syrian government and rebel forces, with Turkey backing the rebels.
As a result, the Turkish government has long tolerated the passage of militant fighters
through the country into Syria, ostensibly to fight against Assad. However, experts say
that once they get to Syria, they often instead join the Islamic State. In fact, Turkey has
been dubbed the “Gateway to Jihad”, as some estimate that anywhere from 80 to 90
percent of foreign based ISIS fighters have, at one point, passed through the country.
When the Turkish government caught wind of this in 2015, it began cracking down on domestic
ISIS networks and strengthened security along the country’s more than 500-mile border
with Syria. According to US intelligence, Turkish police have detained more than 1,300
suspected ISIS fighters in the last year. Many speculate that the recent string of ISIS-related
terror attacks in Turkey is the Islamic State’s response to these actions.
Meanwhile, Turkey has rekindled its decades-old conflict with the PKK, a violent rebel group
representing the country’s largest ethnic minority, the Kurds. Unlike ISIS, who have
been known to target tourists and civilians, the PKK tends to target police, military and
government officials. Within the last year, Kurdish militants have allegedly staged as
many as 8 terror attacks in Turkey.
This is all under the backdrop of Turkey’s evolving role in geopolitics, which many argue
is increasingly pro-western, in an attempt to join the European Union. In fact, one reason
Turkey has taken in so many migrants, is that it has agreed to admit those seeking refuge
in Greece, in exchange for an accelerated path to EU membership. What’s more, just
days before the Istanbul Airport attack, Turkey normalized relations with Israel, which ISIS
has specifically declared war on.
Turkey’s controversial role in global relations between some of the most dangerous ongoing
conflicts has made it a prime target of anger from all sides. Meanwhile, Turkey’s own
internal issues with disenfranchised minority populations, as well as heavy censorship and
Erdogan’s oppression of his own people has done little to promote stability. Its likely
that as long as Turkey is in such a volatile situation, the country will continue being
For years, Turkey has faced attacks from ISIS — but in spite of this, the president has
taken little action to protect its borders against the terrorist group. Could ISIS take
over Turkey? Find out in our video. (sound up) Thanks for watching.
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Why Are There So Many Terror Attacks in Turkey?

196 Folder Collection
BH published on October 20, 2016
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