View Full Version : Turks Join the Jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan

12-08-2006, 09:24 PM
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Focus, 7 Dec 06: Turks Join the Jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan (http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2370229)

While it is a long held maxim that Turkey is "with" the West in the war on terrorism—especially after the 2003 Istanbul bombings—the invasion of Iraq has made anti-Americanism vogue in Turkey. Some Turks believe that Jews blew up the World Trade Center and that the United States has secret plans to invade Turkey in order to create a Kurdistan on its territory. Such sentiments are not strictly limited to an extremist fringe; this is best demonstrated by the fact that Hitler's Kavgam (Mein Kampf) and Metal Firtna (a Tom Clancy-esque book depicting the "inevitable" U.S. invasion of Turkey) recently became bestsellers in Turkey. It is also seen in the most expensive movie ever produced in Turkey, Valley of the Wolves Iraq, which features U.S. soldiers shooting up Iraqi weddings and harvesting Iraqi body parts for shipment to Tel Aviv. Similar sentiments have subsequently begun to appear on Turkish jihadi websites. While Turkish extremist websites were previously devoted almost exclusively to lionizing Chechen jihadis fighting the "Godless" Russians (often featuring footage of Russian vehicles hitting landmines and Chechen field commanders in action), Americans are now starring in the role of kafir (infidel) targets for Iraqi and Taliban mujahideen on Turkish websites....

12-09-2006, 05:05 AM
Interesting. Hmm, it would be *very* interesting to track the money trail for both the movie and book. It would also be interesting to track the hits on the jihadist sites. This looks like the strengthening of another front in the symbolic war. Has anyone seen or heard of any increases in attacks on Christians in Turkey (outside of the inevitable reaction to the Pope's comments)?


04-17-2008, 03:01 PM
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Focus, 16 Apr 08:

Police Raids Uncover al-Qaeda’s Parallel World in Turkey (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2374104)

Al-Qaeda is taking roots in Turkey, as indicated by recent police crackdowns and the discovery of a parallel jihadi society in Istanbul. In a two-day operation, Turkish police forces arrested 43 alleged members of al-Qaeda. On April 1, police forces launched four simultaneous raids in four different provinces—Istanbul, Hatay, Gaziantep and Konya. The operation resulted in the arrest of 35 individuals, including the leader of al-Qaeda in Turkey. One day later, 300 security forces, including police forces and Special Forces, launched another raid which resulted in the arrest of 18 individuals. This latter cell had been under surveillance for eight months. Twenty-four suspects have been indicted by a Turkish court on charges of planning bombings and belonging to a terrorist organization.

During the raids, police forces also seized jihadi material, such as documents and CDs giving instructions for military training, encoded conversations with jihadi groups abroad, attack plans and material related to bomb-making. The cell dismantled on April 2 was specialized in explosives, according to the police.

The most shocking discovery, however, was not found in the computers of the alleged terrorists, but in the organization’s structure. Indeed, after several months of tight surveillance, the Turkish intelligence uncovered the existence of a parallel jihadi society.....

04-19-2008, 04:02 AM
Al-Qaeda kingpin: I trained 9/11 hijackers (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2936761.ece), The Sunday Times(London), November 25, 2007

When the Bosnian war opened a new front for jihadists in the early 1990s, Sakka left his job and headed for the conflict. He stayed in Turkey initially and established the “mujaheddin service office”, which provided medical support for Bosnia and later the two Chechen wars.

It soon became clear that more than medical help was needed. Sakka set up intensive physical training programmes in the Yalova mountain resort area, near Istanbul, to prepare the scores of young men heading for the conflicts. The memoir claims the volunteers came from Europe, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Gulf, North Africa and South America.

The Chechens needed trained fighters. Sakka was telephoned by Ibn al-Khattab, the late militia leader controlling the foreign fighters against the Russians. Khattab requested that Sakka’s trainees should be sent on to Afghanistan for military training because “conditions are tough”.

This brought Sakka into contact with Abu Zubaydah, a high-ranking Al-Qaeda member, who ran a large terrorist training camp near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sakka was later to be sentenced in ab-sentia for involvement in the foiled Jordanian millennium bomb attacks in 2000 along with Zubaydah.

One of Sakka’s chief roles was to organise passports and visas for the volunteers to make their way to Afghanistan through Pakistan. His ability to keep providing high-quality forged papers made Turkey a main hub for Al-Qaeda movements, his lawyer says. The young men came to Turkey pretending to be on holiday and Sakka’s false papers allowed them to “disappear” overseas.

Turkish intelligence were aware of unusual militant Islamic activity in the Yalova mountains, where Sakka had set up his camps. But they posed no threat to Turkey at the time.

But a bigger plot was developing. In late 1999, Karahan says,a group of four young Saudi students went to Turkey to prepare for fighting in Chechnya. “They wanted to be good Muslims and join the jihad during their holidays,” he said.

They had begun a path that was to end with the September 11 attacks on America in 2001. They were: Ahmed and Hamza al-Ghamdi who hijacked the plane that crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center; their companion Saeed al-Ghamdi whose plane crashed in a Pennsylvanian field; and Nawaf al-Hazmi who died in the Pentagon crash.

They undertook Sakka’s physical training programme in the mountains and later were joined by two of the other would-be hijackers: Majed Moqed, who also perished in the Pentagon crash, and Satam al-Suqami, who was in the first plane that hit the north tower.

12-18-2008, 02:56 PM
Hurriyet, 18 Dec 08: Dozens of suspected al Qaeda members detained in Turkey (http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/10592122.asp?gid=244)

Turkish police on Wednesday detained 30 people suspected of belonging to the al Qaeda network, the Anatolian Agency (http://www.aa.com.tr/) reported.

Anti-terrorist police detained 15 suspects in Istanbul and 15 more in two other regions of the country, the report said without giving further details.....

...and just for a sort of tangential background:

JF, 16 Dec 08: Iraqi Journalist’s Shoes Make Turkish Media Happy (http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=34276&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=7&cHash=cae9acf9e7)

......It can be concluded from the Turkish media’s reaction to the incident that anger toward the Bush administration is rampant across the entire ideological spectrum. Whenever such negative incidents have occurred in previous years, Turkish journalists and commentators attacked the United State in general. This time, however, with few exceptions, they made Bush and his administration the target of the protest, rather than the United States as a whole. Moreover, most of the commentators pointed to the fact that hitting someone with a shoe is a particularly strong reproach in Arab culture.

The shoe protest has once again shown how the Bush administration has united many in the Islamic world against America. It has laid a huge burden on the shoulders of the incoming Obama administration to reverse the anti-American sentiment in Islamic countries. The Turkish press reported that Obama was considering organizing a big rally in the Muslim world, possibly in Istanbul, as a means of curbing anti-Americanism (Yeni Safak, December 13). The reactions to the shoe incident show that the Obama administration must in any case do something to curtail such sentiments sooner rather than later.

06-05-2009, 02:49 PM
Islamic Jihad Union: al-Qaida’s Key to the Turkic World?[/URL], by Einar Wigen. Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), 23 February 2009. (PDF)


English summary

The Turkic peoples have assumed a relatively marginal role in global jihadism. The group Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) appears to have changed this. It broke off from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in 2002, after the fall of the Taliban. The leadership and core fighters appear to be Uzbek, and the group’s ideology draws on traits from both sociorevolutionary Islamism and global jihadism. The group refers to Uzbekistan and Germany as enemies, but there is little evidence of following up the words with deeds. The bulk of IJU attacks have been against American, British and Afghan National Army soldiers in Afghanistan.

One of the IJU’s most important communication outlets is a Turkish-language website called Şehadet Zamanı. It is uncertain whether the choice of language is deliberate or not, but it is likely to draw fame from the Turk and Kurd populations living in Turkey and Germany, as well as Turkic speakers in Central Asia.

In September 2007 a terrorist cell associated with the IJU was arrested in Germany. The cell had planned to build three sizeable hydro peroxide bombs and attack the Uzbek and American consulates in Germany, along with the U.S. Ramstein Airbase. The group was led by a German convert and consisted mainly of Turks and German converts. Among the cell members were people who had spent time in Mir Ali in Waziristan, where the IJU is based. Persons with connections to the cell have also turned up in IJU propaganda videos, apparently receiving training from, and operating in, both Afghanistan and Pakistan. In March 2008, Germany got its first suicide bomber; the Bavarian Turk, Cüneyt Çiftçi, blew himself up when striking an American base in Afghanistan. The German convert Eric Breininger has also started featuring in IJU’s propaganda, where he has threatened Germany with terrorist attacks.

The IJU appears closely connected to two groups in Mir Ali, where they have their base. They appear to cooperate closely with a group of Arab fighters which was led, until his death, by the al-Qaida-affiliated Abu Laith al-Libi. There has been speculation that he was the driving force behind the the IJU’s efforts to take the fight to the West. The other main IJU ally is the Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his son Sirajuddin. They want a more Afghanistan-centred fight, and prefer the jihadists to focus their efforts in Afghanistan. After Abu Laith’s death there have been few signs of global ambitions, but if someone with similar ambitions is capable of taking his place, the IJU is poised to create more cells in Germany. Such a development may also give al-Qaida a foothold among radicals of the Turkic peoples.

06-05-2009, 05:09 PM
Interesting. Hmm, it would be *very* interesting to track the money trail for both the movie and book. It would also be interesting to track the hits on the jihadist sites. This looks like the strengthening of another front in the symbolic war. Has anyone seen or heard of any increases in attacks on Christians in Turkey (outside of the inevitable reaction to the Pope's comments)?

Well, at least part of the money went to Gary Busey and Billy Zane, those great Americans. :rolleyes:

07-06-2009, 05:59 AM
As you may note there is serious tension in Turkey between the secular nationalists and those who take their Islam seriously. Obama is trying to buddy up with the Turks by suggesting they should be allowed entrance to the EU - contrary to the wishes of most Europeans. These Western contra Islamic tensions could lead to serious strife in the future if excaserbated.


Bob's World
07-06-2009, 10:38 AM
AQ is conducting uw in a very state-like way. Their message is to dissatisfied Muslim's everywhere, and is not confined by any state border. It is very reasonable to believe that there are young men in virtually every country in the world that would find the message attractive, or that have their own organization and agenda and are looking for a vehicle to get to the next level.

Most of these are local movements with local agendas. Some are groups who have no local agenda per se, but agree that the Middle East should be free of the Western influence that shapes and controls so much of the governance of the region to this day.

All of this is actually quite "reasonable" in the sense that it is not surprising, and most of us would do the same thing if the shoe were on the other foot. The real question, is what to do about it.

For governments everywhere my advice would be to be empathetic to the concerns of your populace, and to ensure that they have mechanisms available to the that allow them to legitimately voice their concerns and to implement change to governance when they feel it is not responsive to their needs. This is, IMO, the key to maintaining stability on the home front.

As to those concerned about attacks from abroad, I believe the key there is to avoid or minimize even perceptions that ones country is somehow a major source of legitimacy for another populace's governance. An insurgent populace will attack such a source of legitimacy in order to open the way to effecting change at home. Plus it is human nature to blame one's problem's on someone else, so such perceptions of legitimacy are a fat, juicy target for a PSYOP campaign by a clever operator like bin Laden.

Bottom line though, is not to blame AQ. Sure they are criminal, disruptive A-holes; but so long as such conditions exist, if not them, then someone else would fill this role. Pop-up targets. You can keep shooting the pop-ups, or you can do something to take yourself off their target list.

In this context, I believe the approach by the current President is far more likely to yield positive results than the symptom-based approach of the last. In fact, AQ were to attempt another major attack against us, I would take that as a pretty good metric that they think so as well.

So I would recommend focusing on:
1. Addressing perceptions of US legitimacy over other governments
2. Encouraging other govenments to, on their terms, open such legitimate avenues for their populaces to express dissent and affect change
3. Move man-hunting to a persistent, relentless effort, conducted in the shadows by a small, dedicated force.
4. Get out of the "effective government" business. It won't work (ineffective government does not cause insurgency in of itself); its too expensive; and it actually adds to our most dangerous factor: perceptions of legitimacy over the government of another.

07-24-2009, 12:03 AM
Turks increasingly turn to Islamic extremism (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-turk-terror28-2009jun28,0,2926336.story): Al Qaeda's reliance on Arabs is altering as recruits from Turkey and Turkic-speaking areas of Central Asia form a recent wave of trainees, experts say. By Sebastian Rotella, Los Angeles Times, June 28, 2009.

The message is the latest sign of the changing composition of Islamic extremism, anti-terrorism officials and experts say. The number of Turks in Al Qaeda, long dominated by Arabs, has increased notably, officials say. And militant groups dominated by Turks and Central Asians, many of whom share Turkic culture and speak a Turkic language, have emerged as allies of and alternatives to Al Qaeda in northwestern Pakistan.

"We are aware of an increasing number of Turks going to train in Pakistan," said a senior European anti-terrorism official who asked to remain anonymous because the subject is sensitive. "This increase has taken place in the past couple of years."

George L. Singleton
07-24-2009, 12:59 AM
This might help explain the "real" reasons why the new Russian President is cozying up to the US these days.

No disrespect to the Russians. I have personally long been crazy enough to want Russia to be a full partner and member formally of NATO, rather than to just have Observer status. Russia as a new democracy could as a full NATO Member have a better opportunity to make friends, tamp down old ethnica and geographic rivalties among it's European neighbors, and form a Western view while at the same time dealing with growing economic interactions, invovling oil and gas, with China and Japan, among other Asian nations Russia should want a better relationship with in a trading partner and collaborative sense.