A Brief History of Jihadism in Turkey

Despite the Istanbul attacks in 2003, the Turkish fight against terrorism has remained largely synonymous with the fight against Kurdish separatists. To my knowledge, there are few if any in-depth academic studies of Turkish jihadism. Not even the 2003 Istanbul attacks have been closely examined by scholars, despite a wealth of available Turkish sources. At most, there are studies of how the Turkish media covered these events, and the emphasis is on the narrative being used by non-jihadists to describe the phenomenon (see e.g. Gökhan Gökulu’s 2005 M.A. thesis “Terör Eylemlerinin Medyaya Yansıması”). With the exception of Mehmet Faraç’s book İkiz Kulelerden Galata’ya: El Kaide Turka and the reporting of a few other journalists, Turkish writers and intellectuals seem surprisingly uninterested in the phenomenon itself. Although it has been thought that the secular Turks were almost immune to militant Islamism, the Turkish jihadist community appears to be growing. The first

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Are the Uzbeks Going Global?

[Editor’s note: I am thrilled to introduce Einar Wigen, author of the recent FFI report on the IJU, as a guest contributor. Einar interned at FFI last summer and is currently a a student fellow at the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI). A fluent Turkish speaker, Einar specialises in jihadism among the Turkics. Not many people produce world-class research as summer interns, so this guy is really someone to look out for in the future.] The Turkic peoples have until now played a fairly peripheral role in global jihadism. They have not attracted much academic attention, and apart from the 2003 Istanbul bombings and the 2008 American Consulate attacks, operations carried out by Turkics have gained little attention. The Waziristan-based group Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) seems to be trying to change this (as Jihadica has suggested before). The IJU broke off from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in 2001,

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