ISIS Districts: Turkey

Key details:

24/08/2016 from Turkey

ISIS is not far, it is among us.

There are ‘IS districts’ in many towns. Here are some of them:

  • Antep-Kilisli: Antep cell is known to transfer jihadists to Syria.
  • Adiyaman: Approximately 30 names/people who carried out Suruc Massacre and 10 October Ankara Massacre belong to Adiyaman Cell.
  • Ankara: Selefi Cell circulated in Hacibayram. The cell spread Selefi ideology. (The oldest mosque of Ankara located in Hacibayram and it is also a touristic destination)
  • Istanbul: there are cells in Esenler, Fatih, Gungoren, Umraniye and Tuzla- industrial places .
  • Bingol: Islah-Der association send almost 100 people to Syria.
  • Konya: The most optimistic estimation- approx. 1000 people went Syria to fight from Konya.


Assessment: Suicide bombing in Gaziantep wedding

  • 51 people died (mostly women and children) and 70+ people injured in this terror attack.
  • The suicide bomber was a 13-14 years old boy according to Erdogan.

Analysis: Gaziantep is a region located in South Eastern Anatolia. Many attacks happened in this region before and all of them were carried out by PKK. The PKK never targeted a wedding before although it is known that they attack civilians too.

Secondly, President Erdogan stated that ISIS is behind this attack. However, ISIS didn’t claim attacks in Turkey such as the Ataturk airport bombing etc. Using children as suicide bombers is ISIS’ method; it makes it harder to detect an attack. Using children is useful for terror organizations too because it is easy to manipulate children rather than adults. Similar incidents are occurring more frequently.

Attacking a wedding indicates unconventional methods because it is harder to predict. Furthermore, it gains more attention after the attack which ISIS wants. In previous attacks in Turkey, we see that organization choose touristic and crowded places like Sultanahmed, the airport etc. and targeted foreign people in the last attack. but this time it was a wedding which is not touristic at all – all the people were Turks. Also, ISIS didn’t use children before in Turkey attacks.

Lastly, after the 15 July failed coup attempt, Turkey has become a leading choice to carry out terrorist attacks because it is vulnerable. Moreover, it is known that Turkey is ISIS’ transport hub and shopping bazaar – many recruits came back home and ready to strike. There are many security bricks after the coup and more attacks will occur in the future.


Assessment: ISIS Tiger Cub Schools

Previous reports and news from the caliphate show that IS is using children to spread its propaganda. According to its channel, the group trains children as soldiers; they recruit individuals from early ages. According to experts, 18 suicide bombers were children. This could be a sign that IS is embracing new strategy: using children as suicide bombers.

Last year, news appeared as IS’s children learn how to behead or assassinate enemy by practicing with toys and dolls. However,we see that has become real. There are videos of lion cubs beheading or killing individuals.

IS recruit children and use them as suicide bombers,soldiers,human shield etc. When looking at the data, it makes sense. It is easier to brain wash or manipulate individuals at early ages.

Children who witness war or grow up in war environment are more likely to be affected psychologically. The organization takes advantage from this situation. These children’s motivation could be hatred, revenge or grievance which is perfect reasons to join an organization like IS.

This organization or many of them are capable to adapt to the environment. When the organization started to lose its territory, it started to adapt new strategics outside its territory in order to survive. This was seen in Turkey, Belgium, the Nice attacks etc.

Lone wolf attacks and children suicide bombers or attackers become more popular and these kinds of attacks will not stop. The reason is, these kind of attackers are harder to predict or detect than before.