Ankara's Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) held an introductory panel examining the structure of DAESH on Tuesday, the same day as Turkey was rocked by a devastating attack on Atatürk International Airport,.
Speaking on a publicity panel of the recently published report, "Enemy at the Border: Turkey's Fight against DAESH," Fatma Ceren Yazgan, deputy director general for security issues and intelligence at the Foreign Ministry, said: "Any country taking an interest in the DAESH issue, including Turkey, is aware of the fact that this is not a temporary problem or a cross-border threat."
Yazgan said that the increase in the mobility of foreign fighters is directly related to increasing social media activism as well as DAESH's geographic proximity to Turkey. Concerning Turkey's attitude on terrorist organizations, Yazgan said: "Turkey has never made a distinction between terrorist organizations. Only its priorities changed in accordance with time and conditions."
SETA Foreign Policy Director Ufuk Ulutaş emphasized the sadness of "the fact that we are still trying to get to know DAESH," stressing the importance of understanding the ideological roots of the organization. Ulutaş said: "We cannot get to the bottom of DAESH, but we can try to fight DAESH with military might as a global coalition of countries, which lets DAESH mobilize itself in different settings and environments."
Underlining the amount of former Iraqi leaders in DAESH's administration, Ulutaş mentioned the importance of having strong relations with Iraq in order to join the organization. "The biggest advantage DAESH has is the current state of chaos in both Syria in Iraq," categorizing the other major advantages the organization has as the "prejudice in Iraq against the Hashd al-Shaabi forces fighting against DAESH" and the "wrongness and inadequacy in the fight against DAESH," while describing the organization as "the most pragmatic structure in the field."
Supporting Ulutaş's statement concerning the importance of understanding DAESH, TOBB University of Economics and Technology International Relations Associate Professor Haldun Yalçınkaya said the fight against DAESH is not effective because global public opinion is not familiar enough with the inner workings of DAESH. Criticizing the global approach to DAESH, he said: "Nation-states have looked after their own benefits, rather than prioritizing the common benefits of an international society." Further commenting on foreign fighters crossing to Syria from Turkey, "One of the reasons for it is the third party countries' approach, not caring about the matter and leaving it solely to Turkey," Yalçınkaya said, drawing attention to the lack of efficient international cooperation on the issue. "The claim that Turkey has a connection with DAESH can only be explained as ignorance," Yalçınkaya said.Presenting his own studies on DAESH at the panel, Security Director of SETA Murat Yeşiltaş classified the threats against Turkey under the categories of the mobilization of foreign fighters, suicide bombing attacks, threats against the borders of Turkey, assassinations, propaganda promoting radicalization and cross border attacks in Turkey. Calling Turkey as a "close and solid target" for DAESH, Yeşiltaş said that the variety of threats the terrorist organization presents has created a necessity for Turkey to fight DAESH multi-dimensionally.