Hakan GUNES  “SALAFISM AT THE GATE: TURKEY’S FOREIGN POLICY & JIHADISTS ENTITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST!”

Introduction:

 

  1. Gulf War, the Arab Spring and civil wars after the Arab Spring tides generated new political entities in the Middle East where politics never calmed down. II Gulf War in Iraq and civil war in Syria radicalized the opposition circles in a relative short period of time. Iraqi Sunni opposition evolved into a Salafi-Jihadist one mainly from the pan-Arab secular armed Sunni resistance. Likewise in Syria, the moderate semi-secular protest circles rapidly dominated by political Islamist groups most of which transformed into Salafi-jihadists in a year. An Iraq based Salafi group called the Islamic State (later ISIL and ISIS) managed to organize several Islamist small brigades along with the foreign mercenaries and recruits under a unified body: The Khalifat. By mid 2014 this self-declared Islamic Stated (the Khalifat) achieved to expand its territorial control over almost all Sunni populated areas of Iraq and Syria. As an unrecognized entity the Islamic State controlled areas bordering to several countries. Turkey, along with her Middle Eastern countries became the neighbor of the Khalifat.

However Turkey’s engagement with the jihadist groups in general, and her indirect relations with the IS in particular had a background before they became neighbors. The deviations in the secular republican-Kemalist foreign policy priorities and orientations under the pro-Islamist AKP (Justice and Development Party) Government accelerated after the Syrian Civil War. Turkey directly intruded to the Syrian civil war through proxies: Ankara supported several Islamist factions and even hosted the headquarter of Free Syrian Army. The neo-Ottomanist ambitions of the ruling pro-Islamic government dragged the Turkish Government into support of none-moderate groups such as Ahrar Al-Sham. Later many allegations articulated in the international arena about Turkey’s indirect support for the Al-Qaida linked groups such as Al-Nusra front.  Turkey its allies in Riyad and Doha disregarded such claims due to their commitment to overthrow the regime in Damascus and the western countries support of anti-Essad acts. However Is/The Kahlifat’s execution of western nationals and their bomb attacks in the western countries dramatically changed the understanding of the situation the mddle east.

By this brief paper it is aimed at explaining the ideological roots of Salafi-Jihadism and its affinities to the other forms of political Islamism. I will mainly focus on the nexuses between the everyday political Islamism and the Salafi Jihadism in order to demonstrate the recruitment capacity of the latter. Then it is also aimed at explaining the Turkeys foreign policy changes with a particular focus on its shifting orientation under the incumbent pro-Islamist Government.

 

Nexus of Political Islamism and the Jihadism

The rise of global Jihadism in the world after the “Arab Spring” underlies the importance of studying the mobilization and consent capacities of Jihadism among ordinary Muslim communities. This brief introduction is an effort to explain the reasons for growing jihadist popularity, by analyzing the spheres beyond economy and political systems of the Muslim populated states vis a vis Turkey.

Recent developments in the Muslim world could hardly be addressed within the scope of “traditional dichotomies” such as folk Islam versus political Islam, heterodoxy versus orthodoxy, traditional Islam versus modernist etc. I have a set of questions to investigate more novel phenomenon: Why and how jihadists are capable of attracting an important portion of Muslim individuals? How should we explain the sympathy for political Islam and Jihadism in general and the support for the Al Qaida, Islamic State and similar organizations in particular?  Why and how folk Islam, Sufi Islam or everyday Islam losing influence while a radical and orthodox interpretation of Islam gaining power? What factors are important in this process beyond poverty, oppression and injustice in the world?

These questions replied by different scholars and we have an important accumulation of knowledge about emerging patterns of new political Islamism and Jihadism. However the link between orthodoxization in belief patterns and radicalization of political expression is the missing ring in the chain. I do suggest to focus on the intersectional ideas and values between everyday Islam, political Islam and Jihadism. Exploring the nexuses between those relatively different sets of belief and attitudes will help us to understand the strategies of jihadist networks’ (including ISIS) mobilization capacity.

Dialect continuum theory is a very functional model to explore the nexus between relatively different “dialects/factions” within Islam. A dialect continuum as defined by linguist Leonard Bloomfield is a range of dialects spoken across a geographical area that differ only slightly between neighboring areas[1] As one travels in any direction, these differences accumulate such that speakers from opposite ends of the continuum are no longer mutually intelligible to each other. Briefly, a dialect continuum is a chain of mutual intelligibility across geographical space. The striking point is that a chain of mutual intelligibility, links all the dialects spoken throughout an area. At any point on this extensive continuum, speakers of one dialect can understand speakers of other dialects who live in adjacent areas to them. This linguistic model explaining the transitional character of dialects, could be used as an explanatory model for exploring the interlinkage between certain groups and communities in political sociology.

Therefore any other approach or model hardly explains how Jihadist got the capacity to mobilize or at least get the consent from ordinary Muslims who normally disagree with the practices of the Jihadist. The belief sets of Jihadist are genuinely different -linguistically speaking “unintelligible”- for the average Muslims. However Jihadist are very creative and hegemonic in getting the consent through intermediary agents, which have the capacity to transfer the consent from larger Muslim populations.

What differs a Jihadist/Fundamentalist/Salafi from a non-Salafi political Islamist and is their interpretation of Islam regarding the parameters such as secularism, women rights, hijab, polygamy, interest (usury), source of legitimacy, caliphate, jihad, dkikr, ziyarahs, codes of attitudes towards non-Muslims, apostasy etc. The “interpretation” of Islam is the key concept for an analysis of differences, similarities and nexuses. The “interpretation” within our context could be considered as the substitute of both “grammar and lexicon” which makes the dialects mutually intelligible or unintelligible.

Interpretation of Islam regarding the above mentioned themes/questions leads us to main schools of philosophy and fiqh (jurisprudence) within Islam. Various tafsir, kalam and hadith interpreters are the reference points for interpretations of the today’s different groups.

The Jihadist strategy to get the consent of non-jihadist networks and communities is basically managed through monopolizing the interpretation of religious sources. They blame the philosophical schools in Islam -largely represented by Avicenna, Averroes, Farabi and Rumi- by apostasy and propagate the ideas of Ibn Taymiyyeh. More subtly the jihadists reconstruct the image of mainstream Sunni conservative thinkers like Al Ghazali and Maturidi as “Salafi” thinkers. By monopolizing the whole Islamic history and interpretation traditions they aggressively assert that:

-There is only one Quran and it has never been changed.

-The verses of Quran are words of God and could not be a matter of interpretations.

-Therefore the “interpretations” of Salafi jihadist has to be taken as the God’s verses.

This is the main argumentation sequence and a very simple way to persuade masses of devotees.  This argumentation uses the nexuses as a picklock: Very general values and dogmas of large Muslim communities monopolized and re-baptized within a Salafi jihadist context. I do not mean that Salafi-jihadists’ understanding of Islam managed to transform the Muslim landscape completely but, it had expanded its hegemony over the territories where Salafism and Jihadism never had an important place. And the key reason for that is the lack of non-Salafi and non-jihadist antidotes.

As mentioned earlier, Islamism and Islamist movements are hot topics and have studied by various scholars. Yet the studies about the consent processes and strategies of the Jihadists movements in general and in Turkish context constitute a relatively weak ring of the chain.

Local Context

The role of religion in social and political life of societies is rising. Turkish society is not an exception. The collapse of the Soviet Union has played a major role in the rise of Islam in the surrounding area. The military regime of 1980 coup d’etat and their beneficiaries supported Islamism as an antidote to the left wing movements.

Today one could easily identify three different understanding of Islam: Everyday Islam or traditional local Islam, Political Islam based on traditional Islam while politicizing the very nature of religion and finally Salafi jihadist Islam.

The Sufi Muslims, ordinary believers with no political affiliation and most of the official mufti and imams constitute the first group. Political Islamist consisted of organizations such as Saadet Party, the Justice and Development Party (The ruling party), Muslim Youth (Mus-Genc) organization and many smaller groups. The identification of third group requires much more clarification than the previous ones: Although Salafism and Jihadism are not necessarily the same tradition and concepts, they are in a process of merge. As a consequence of crackdowns and unchecked intra-Islam developments, political Islam and Islamic radicalism evolved into a largely homogenous agent.

Therefore, like Gilles Keppel, I prefer to name the third group as “Salafi/Jihadist” or as “Salafi-Jihadist”[2]. The Salafi/Jihadist groups are mainly the local units of the Al Qaida, Al Nousra, ISIS and similar organizations. Mostly their organizational names appear as “The Emirate of ….”.

Nevertheless, depicting the rise of Salafism is a factual information. What we aim to explore is to analyze their capacity and strategy to attract and manipulate masses. This again brings us to the question of “commons” between them and the masses in the region.

Nexus of Muslim communities and the Islamists

Following Shirin Akiner’s definition the term “traditional Islam is used here to describe the conservative, overall rather passive attitude to religion that continues to characterize the outlook of the great majority of Muslims”.[3] Nazih Ayubi described political Islam as an attempt to link religion and politics by way of resisting, rather than legitimizing government, therefore, it is essentially a protest movement.[4] But at the same time the term “political Islam” has often been associated with legal political parties in Turkey and Indonesia and Islamic groups like Hezbollah and Hamas which have recently acquired power at the local or national level. I believe both types of groups and parties could be categorized as political Islamism no matter they are radical or moderate.

 

The relation between political Islamist and the traditional Muslim groups could be portrayed as a rival one rather than a cooperating relation. The political Islamists are trying to discredit and even eliminate traditional Muslim ideas and circles by accusing them for the support of non-Islamic regimes and/or for their heterodoxy. Since the traditional Muslim circles and communities are not well organized and homogeneous as their rivals, Political Islamist managed to get the ideological supremacy over them. Well-organized and financially supported political Islamists also force the traditional communities to accept more orthodox norms or at least to adapt their doctrines to the mainstream orthodoxy. This forced reconciliation, in turn, creates an environment for the political Islamist to get consent from ordinary Muslim communities. The strategy briefly could be called as politicization through doctrinal orthodoxization.

Nexus of political Islamism and the Jihadism lie in the monolithic conception of the Islam. Although political Islam is not necessarily a violent movement, and many Islamists do not engage in acts of violence, the exclusive claim to the truth and the views of the world divided between the abode of Islam (Dar ul Islam) and the abode of disbelief (Dar ul Harb) lends itself to extremist tendencies.

A typical member of ruling party in Turkey (AKP) could truly express his/her attitudes against violence however do not negate the hierarchical distinction cited above about the Islam and non-Islam worlds. Politicization through orthodox beliefs is the key for the sympathy for jihadist entities like ISIS even among the ordinary non-Salafi Turkish Muslims. Another factor the widening sympathy among the masses is the all-purpose references to a “pure Islam”: What unites these diverse collections of Islamists, is the belief in a “pure” Islam that existed during the epoch of the Prophet Muhammad. According to the Islamists, this return to the pure Islam is the only solution to religious, moral, cultural, and political decay; and it can only be accomplished through the re-Islamization of societies and the establishment of Central Asian Islamic states[5].

For the jihadist Islamists, there is no middle ground. One is either committed to the implementation of the word of God, or is working against it. There is no room for indifference. This blinkered view of Islam and society has allowed some Islamists to justify terror and brutality in the name of God.[6]

Turkish society was far from any Salafi influence until very recently. There always been some forms of political Islamism but they were never related to the Salafi denomination. However Turkey’s changing internal socio-political structure (Islamization of society and politics in Turkey) and foreign policy orientations (neo-Ottomanist aspirations) created two interrelated fact: Salafization of Sunni political Islamism and Pakistanization.

Changing Turkish Foreign Policy

After the military intervention on February 28, 1997, political Islamists were forced from power and various minority and coalition governments were formed. However, only five years after the intervention, political Islam came to power with an even stronger political formation, namely the AKP – the Justice and Development Party. Islamist political circles hailed this development as the weakening of the secular camp in Turkey and a victory of Islamism.

Traditional Turkish foreign policy –based on pro-Western and secular principles– refrained from meddling in the internal affairs of Middle Eastern countries, has ceded its place to a new perspective. The AKP’s initial approach to foreign policy was in line with traditional parameters. After 2005, however, the government shifted towards a loose pro-European line, followed by Euro-Asianism.[7] The AKP approached Hamas at a time when tensions were high between Mahmoud Abbas’s government and Hamas in Palestine, and they took a hard line against Israel, one of Turkey’s traditional partners.

Faruk Sonmezoglu, an expert on Turkish foreign relations, emphasizes compliance with the Lausanne Treaty (1923) as the most consistent element of Turkish foreign politics.[8] Another expert on foreign relations, Baskın Oran, states that this pro-status-quo approach also upheld regional equilibrium. According to him, Turkey’s foreign policy as a “strategic medium-size country” maintained a close watch on any developments that could jeopardize regional equilibrium; according to him, Turkey did “not want any country to become a hegemonic force monopolizing power in the region.”[9]  According to these foreign relations experts, Turkey also traditionally follows a ‘’pro-Western’’ line in foreign policy.[10] Baskın Oran considers the medium and long-term dominance of this pro-Western approach in foreign policy a natural result of the Westernization of the Turkish ruling elite.[11]

Any attempt to portray Turkish foreign policy with any such clear-cut line will run into several difficulties. Whenever the international conjuncture was favorable enough, Turkey often took initiative to push the status quo; some of the best cases in point are Turkey’s annexation of the Hatay province, the Montreux Convention of the Straits, and the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, all of with can be considered atypical in this regard. In fact, it is no coincidence that the concept of ‘’Neo-Ottomanism’’ first emerged in the aftermath of the Cyprus operation.[12]

Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s former PM, portrays a rather precise picture of the country’s foreign policy climate in the 1990s:

‘‘Currents such as Ottomanism, Islamism, Westernism and Turkism which had surfaced in the last century of the Ottoman Empire are once again on the agenda. The main political currents of recent Turkish political history were in the Neo-Ottomanist line upheld by the late president Turgut Ozal, the Islamic discourse introduced to the political scene by the Refah Party, Westernism, which transformed into a radical program with the intervention of February 28, and Turkism, which gained momentum on reactions against PKK terrorism and which enjoyed success in the elections of April 18, 1999”.[13]

A number of foreign policy issues came to the fore towards the end of the AKP’s second term and especially in the beginning of their third term in power: the debate of the shift of axis, the ‘’zero problems with neighbors’’ policy, and discussions over sectarian politics in the context of Syria. These trends paved the way for important changes in Iran- Turkey relations, too, and ultimately ushered in a new, tense period with the Syrian civil war.

Debates on Neo-Ottomanism

From 2009 on, many commentators believed that Turkey was distancing itself from the Transatlantic alliance and adopting a foreign policy with Islamic tendencies focusing on Turkey’s south and east. Headlines read: ‘’How Did the West Lose Turkey;’’ ‘’Turks Picot to the East;’’ ‘’Is Turkey Iran’s Friend?’’ To summarize Cengiz Çandar’s analysis, these headlines are based on the assumption that certain fundamental principles of Republican Turkey have been replaced by Neo-Ottomanism.[14] But is it really possible to brand the foreign policy of the AKP or Davutoglu as ‘’Neo-Ottomanism?’’ And if it is, why and how does Neo-Ottomanism constitute a shift of axis?

In his book, Strategic Depth –which was translated into a number of languages and drew much attention overseas– Davutoglu associated Neo- Ottomanism with Ozal’s discourses and describes it as a domestic and foreign policy reaction of the Ottoman Empire in its final years in the age on nationalisms. Foreign Minister Davutoglu’s comparative description of Ottomanism elucidates the Neo-Ottomanist character of the political line he defends today.

According to Davutoglu, the following characteristics are shared between the Tanzimat Era and today’s era of Neo-Ottomanism:

1) Both restructure the state according to international conjuncture;

2) Both periods held the objective of constructing a new identity and politics in the face of rising nationalist movements;

3) Both strive to reach an eclectic harmony between Western and traditional values;

4) In the Tanzimat Era, the goal was to take part in the post-1825 Vienna Congress system; today, the aim is to take part in the post-Cold War EU process;

5) Just like Ottomanism strived to reach a harmony with the United Kingdom, which rose to prominence after the Vienna Congress, Ozal’s Neo-Ottomanism aimed at reaching a harmony with the US, the hegemonic power of the post-Cold War era.[15]

Considering Davutoglu’s criteria, it would only be fitting to say that the AKP today is pursuing a Neo-Ottomanist political line. The same perspective can settle the debate on the shift of axis; Neo- Ottomanism has “strategic pursuits” in harmony with those of the US.

We should also consider what distinguishes the AKP’s Neo-Ottomanism from that of Ozal with an outline of the differences between his conceptualization of foreign policy with Islamic references and its current manifestations. Omer Taspınar, an expert close to both US  and AKP circles, suggests that Davutoglu’s Neo- Ottomanist vision is very different from that of Necmettin Erbakan. According to Taşpınar, Erbakan wanted to establish alliances with various Muslim nations in lieu of strengthening Turkey’s ties with the West. The AKP’s foreign policy, however, complements bonds with East with relations with the West.[16] Although accurate, this observation does not sufficiently underline the difference between Ozal’s mostly discursive, “on paper” Neo-Ottomanism with that of the AKP.

The AKP’s Eastern pivot coupled with its pro-Western stance adds a second level of regional rivalry to the Iran-Turkey relationship in Iran’s traditional areas of influence: A rivalry between the West and Iran. The result is a clash between an anti-Western and anti-Israeli Shiite axis and a pro-Western axis composed of Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This tension makes for a very different situation than the regional tug-of-war between Iran and Turkey in the 1970s. Today, this rivalry is both more intensified and more internationalized.

Another factor differentiating the AKP’s Neo- Ottomanism from that of Ozal’s is –just as Davutoglu indicated- “Ozal’s Neo-Ottomanism remained on the discursive level” whereas the AKP’s Neo-Ottomanism has now become a full-fledged foreign policy agenda. Turkey’s conciliatory rapprochement with the USSR after Johnson’s 1964 letter, the increased importance of relations with Russia in the second half of the 1990s, and special ties developed with Iran in the 2000’s can all be interpreted as evidence of Turkey’s efforts to gain more relative autonomy inside the Western alliance, and to strike a better balance in economics and foreign policy.

The AKP also developed a more balanced and special relationship with Iran to increase its influence inside the Western alliance. Now in its fourth term, the AKP is shifting away from a relationship without conflict with Iran to form closer ties with the West and in order to increase its influence in the Middle East. This is not to say that Turkey is steering away from the Transatlantic axis which it has been a part of since 1945; rather, they are changing their emphasis and principles from within that axis, entering the third millennium not with a shift of axis, but as an influential sub-axis country. Under the AKP, Turkey’s position as a sub-axis country was bolstered by economic growth in an attempt to become a hegemonic regional power with more relative autonomy, a sub-axis country being a “medium-size state” that is big enough to play a role in regional stability and regional power games, a categorization that is distinct from a global hegemonic power.[17]

The next step is to try to understand what foreign policy priorities and instruments are being used to establish this new sub-axis. As the first decade of the 2000s drew to a close, domestic and foreign analysts focusing on Turkey’s foreign policy’s axis shift concerned themselves with the ‘’zero problems with neighbors’’ policy that Foreign Minister Davutoğlu announced with such fanfare.[18]

In the second half of 2011 when Turkey’s possible military activity in Syria was discussed, it seemed to many like the ‘‘zero problem’’ policy was coming to
an end. The Guardian’s Helen Pidd’s article “Ahmet Davutoglu: Regional Power Broker or Dicatator’s Go-Between?”[19] was one article underlining the contradictory character of the ‘‘zero problem’’ line; many pundits in Turkey, for example the economist and columnist Mehmet Altan, also discussed the issue. He summarized the debate: “Previously, Turkey pursued a ‘‘zero problem with neighbors’’ policy, but as soon as it collapsed, Turkey swiftly returned to its ‘‘zero problem with the center’’ policy…”[20]

Turkey has furthermore gone beyond its position as the foremost role model of moderate Islam to start pursuing sectarian policies for regional problems.

Debates on sectarian antagonism

In general, pre-AKP foreign policy in Turkey paid little attention to the Middle East. In the period following Johnson’s letter, Turkey questioned its relations with the US and took one stop closer to the Arab world to strike a better balance in foreign relations while sticking to their principle of keeping out of inter-Arab conflicts.[21] Likewise, until the current period, no journalist or author highlighted Turkey’s religious or sectarian antagonism.

In the beginning of the 2010s, Turkey increasingly started to be seen as not only a model of moderate Islamist politics moving towards Neo-Ottomanism, but also as the proponent of sectarian politics joining a Sunnite axis. This was a groundbreaking shift in the history of the Republic of Turkey. Turkey’s sectarian politics came to the fore first in the contexts of Iraq’s domestic developments, later in those of Syria before expanding to other parts of the Middle East.

The historic Sunnite-Shiite antagonism once again appeared as a key parameter, first in Iraq after the US invasion and then across the region when the Arab Spring created new areas of Sunni-Shia tension –Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria. As a result, the restructuring of the region became a more complicated equation between Middle Eastern powers; this especially meant trouble for Iran-Turkey relations.

Turkey supported the Sunni Iraqqiya Block in the elections in Iraq, participated in NATO’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, and from May 2011 started to actively support Sunnite opposition groups in Syria; all of which was cause enough for the Shiite community to criticize Turkey directly for the first time. Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki claimed that “Turkey wanted to wreck havoc in the region”, and Lebanese Shiite leaders made similar declarations. A report by ORSAM (Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies) stated that “Although Turkey has increased its regional influence following popular movements in North Africa starting in 2011, it is rapidly losing influence among neighboring countries.” This implicitly suggests that the underlying factor is Turkey’s sectarian political lines in Iraq and Syria.[22]

After the events of the Arab Spring, regional experts indicate that the Turkey-Qatar alliance has begun intervening into various hotspots from Libya to Syria and that this “Sunnite Alliance” played a decisive role in Hamas’s decision to abandon its headquarters in Syria.[23] Journalist Nuh Yılmaz of pro-government Star Newspaper correctly interpreted this transformation of the “resistance line” into a sectarian line. Yılmaz stated that “the Alawite Assad, Shiite Nasrallah and Sunnite Meshal, together with Turkey and Iran, no longer join forces as members of a line of resistance against Israel.”[24] Indeed. Hamas has already shifted its headquarters from Syria to Qatar and has begun to redefine its relations from Iran.[25]

Barry Rubin, an expert on the Middle East and terrorism, suggests that this amounts to a normalization for Hamas. He suggests that, although Hamas in a Sunni organization, it had formed an alliance with Iran since it was the only Islamist option available; Turkey’s new role as Sunni patron allowed Hamas to pull away from its relationship with Iran.[26]

However, emergence of ISIS/IS as a neighboring entity on the southeastern borders of Turkey created a much more complicated web of relations in the region. Turkey, a half century ally of US/NATO faced with a difficult decision. Ankara’s staunch commitment to the fall of Assad Regime gradually led the decision makers to use any means in order to fulfill this aim. Turkey’s neo-Ottomanist foreign policy orientation brought new challenges and phenomenal debates to the forefront of the domestic and international discussions. As early as 2012 both Turkish and international journals, academia and political circles begun questioning whether Turkey will experience a Pakistanization syndrome or not!

From Neo-Ottomanism to Pakistanisation

Neo-Ottomanist aspirations led Turkish pro-Islamist Government to deploy religion as a foreign policy tool and to support -so called moderate- jihadist in Syria. The apparent outcomes of this new orientation first questioned by Robert Fisk: In an article in the Independent on September 17, 2012, the Middle East expert Robert Fisk wrote that Turkey was becoming an arms funnel and rest-and-recreation center for Syrian jihadists, just as Pakistan is for the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan[27].

Fisk reminds us US policies and US backed Pakistan’s actions in Afghanistan after 1980. He argues that US “backed the mujahedin against the Soviets without paying attention to their theology and used Pakistan to funnel weapons to these men. And when some of them transmogrified into the Taliban and nurtured Osama bin Laden and the scorpion bit on 9/11” Then he adds that US “cried “terrorism” and wondered why the Afghans ‘betrayed’.”[28]

Turkish columnists and experts broadened Fisk’s question: Kadri Gursel confirms Fisk’s statement by an ironic reasoning: “If Turkey had not been Pakistanizing, Syria would not have been Afghanizing. It means that the jihadists — mainly the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra — could not have Afghanized Syria’s northern region bordering Turkey without logistical support from quarters in Turkey and easy access to Turkish territory and the Syrian border. Without using the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar as a rear base, Jabhat al-Nusra could not have fought the Kurds for months in Ras al-Ain, right on the other side of the border.”[29] Gursel underlined the double agenda of AKP government in instrumentalization the jihadi groups for her objective to limit the activities of Kurdish groups in Syria while supporting the opposition’s effort to topple down the Damascus regime.

As Turkey was discussing the training and equipping of Syrian opposition militants in Turkey in early 2015 Turkish Journalist Fehim Tastekin reported the Pakistani  experts serious warnings about turkey’s lethal game in Syria and its probable outcomes:  Tastekin quoted from the chairman of the Pakistani Senate’s Defense Committee, Mushahid Hussein,  about his country’s role in Afghanistan and in creating the Taliban. Reportedly Hussein said he had reminded Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu while he was visiting Islamabad about the “Pakistanization syndrome.” Hussein added, “I warned Davutoglu when he was here, ‘You are repeating in Syria the mistakes we made in Afghanistan. Organizations you support now will turn against you.”[30]

And just a few month after this warning Turkey bitterly experienced a serious of suicide bomb attacks from late may to late July in 2015. Hundreds of civilians had lost their lives in IS-linked suicide attacks in southeastern towns (Diyarbakır and Suruc massacres ) of Turkey.

As a result of chancy and dangerous game with various factions of jihadist networks, Turkey not only jeopardized regions stability but also of her internal security.

[1] Leonard Bloomfield, Language, London: George Allen & Unwin: 1935, p. 51

[2] Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, Translated by Anthony F. Roberts, Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2002, pp. 219-22.

[3] Shirin Akiner,  ,”The Politicisation of Islam in Postsoviet Central Asia”, Religion, State and Society, (2003)  31:2, 97-122, 101.

[4] N. Nazih Ayubi, Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World, London: Routledge, 1991, p. 123.

[5] Vitaly V. Naumkin, Radical Islam in Central Asia: Between Pen and Rifle, Oxford, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004

[6] Shahram Akbarzadeh,”The Paradox of Political Islam”; in Routledge Handbook of Political Islam, Shahram Akbarzadeh (ed.), NY: Routledge, 2002, pp. 1-8, 4.

[7] Ziya Onis ve Ş. Yılmaz, “Between Europeanization and Euro- Asianism: Foreign Policy Activism During the AKP Era, Turkish Studies, vol. 10, no.1, p.7-24.

[8] Faruk Sönmezoğlu, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’nin Dış̧ Politikasında Süreklilik ve Değişim, F. Sönmezoğlu (ed.), Türk Dış̧ Politikasının Analizi, (pp. 1045-51), p.1046.

[9] Baskın Oran, Türkiye Kabuk Değiştirirken AKP’nin Dış̧ Politikası, Birikim, no.:184-185.

[10] Faruk Sönmezoğlu,  “ II. Dünya Savaşı’ndan Günümüzde Türk Dış̧ Politikası, İstanbul: Der Yayınları, 2006. p.761.

[11] Baskın Oran, (ed.), Türk Dış̧ Politikası, vol. 1, p.21.

[12] Kemal H. Karpat, Studies on Ottoman Social and Political History: Selected Articles and Essays, Leiden: Brill, 2004, p.641.

[13] Davutoğlu, A. Stratejik Derinlik, Turkiye’nin uluslararası konumu, İstanbul, Küre yayınları, 2001, p. 84.

[14] Türk Dış̧ Politikasında “Eksen” Tartışmaları: Çok Kutuplu Dünya İçin Yeni Bir Vizyon, SETA Analiz, no: 16, January 2010, p.4-5.

[15] Davutoğlu, A, ibid., s. 85.

[16] Ömer Taspinar,Turkey’s Middle East Policies, Between Neo-Ottomanism and Kemalism, Carnegie Endovement, 2008, p.14.

[17] Baskın Oran, vol. I. p. 32.

[18] Sorularla Dış Politika, http://www.mfa.gov.tr/sorular.tr.mfa

[19] Guardian: Davutoğlu’nun komşularla sıfır sorun politikası hem takdir, hem alay konusu, June 9, 2011. www.euractiv.com.tr.

[20] Mehmet Altan, Merkezle sıfır sorun politikası, Star, December 3, 2011.

[21] Faruk Sönmezoğlu, : II. Dünya Savaşı’ndan Guünümüze… p. 362-63.

[22] V. Ayhan, Ortadoğu’daki Şii-Sunni Gerginliği ve Türkiye, ORSAM Dış Politika Analizleri, January 14, 2012, www.orsam.org.tr.

[23] A. Jawad Al-Tamimi, Sunni Realignments, December 9, 2011, spectator.org.

[24] Nuh Yılmaz, Ortadoğu’da eksen mezhep hattına kaydı, Star, February 6, 2012.

[25] B. Murphy, and K. Laub, Hamas drifting away from longtime patron Iran, AP, Gazze, February 9 2012, abcnews. go.com.

[26] Barry Rubin, Sunni Versus Shia: The Middle East’s New Strategic Conflict, January 3, 2012, rubinreports.blogspot. com.

[27] Robert Fisk, “Robert Fisk: Al-Qa’ida cashes in as the scorpion gets in among the good guys”, The Independent, 17 September, 2012; http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-al-qaida-cashes-in-as-the-scorpion-gets-in-among-the-good-guys-8143267.html

[28] Robert Fisk, ibid.

[29] Kadri Gürsel , “Has Turkey Become the ‘Pakistan of the Middle East?’”, Milliyet, 24 September 2013, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/el-kaide-ye-karsi-icraat-zamani/dunya/ydetay/1767126/default.htm

[30] Fehim Taştekin, “Pakistan Warns Turkey: Don’t Make Our Mistakes”, March 16, 2015, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/03/turkey-pakistan-friendly-warning-mistakes.html