Turkey Will Be Next if Iraq, Syria Fall to ISIS

Turkey next target for ISIS?
Turkey is walking a fine line in the growing war against ISIS but – should Iraq and Syria ultimately fall to the Islamist terror army – it may be the next country targeted for insurgency. There is no geopolitical genius behind this prediction; how could Turkey not be on the minds of those whose ultimate goal is to establish a new Islamic Caliphate? There are three main reasons for the inevitable assault upon this most strategically located of countries; each of these reasons is glaringly obvious and – if the Turkish government is not already preparing for this eventuality – it has made a tragic and, possibly, fatal mistake.

The first reason must begin with an exploration of why the West – Europe, Canada and, particularly, the United States – is so despised by the extremist element in the Muslim world? The common refrain has always been that western intervention – meddling – in middle eastern affairs has turned the Muslim world against the west. Whilst there is more than a grain of truth in this idea, the bigger picture is expansion and conversion. Just as the Christian world once sought to conquer and Christianize the Middle East, so have the most fervent followers of the Prophet ever sought to conquer Europe. By extension, the United States is hated for strategic reasons; Still the greatest military power on Earth, the United States stands – as it has in the past – in the way of any subjugation of Europe by a dictatorial power.

Were ISIS to emerge as the victors in Iraq and Syria and be granted the time and space to regroup and consolidate, their intentions will turn to those two geographical areas that have always been their target; the Levant – North Africa – and Europe. Turkey, straddling the passageway from the Middle East to Europe, is the natural, and obvious, next target. This is the second reason why Turkey will be next.

The third reason is matter of Turkish demographics. Although a mainly secular nation, approximately 99 percent of the country’s more than 70 million people are Muslim. Additionally, Turkey’s internal problems with ethnic Kurds are likely to increase in direct proportion to the Islamic State’s control of Syria and Iraq. Not long ago, Kurdish separatists saw the very real prospect of carving out an autonomous Kurdish entity from northern Iraq and Syria. Should ISIS prevail in those two countries, the Kurds will find themselves pushed back into southeastern Turkey – swelling the numbers of ethnic Kurds and creating a full-blown refugee crisis. This process has already begun, as Kurdish refugees pour into Turkey from northern Syria. Years of animosity between the Kurds and their Turkish oppressors will, inevitably, boil over. Indeed, the strategic thinkers at the head of ISIS would surely see this ethnic hatred as a tool of destabilization in Turkey.

In the minds of Islamic State long-term thinkers, the subjugation of Turkey would serve to shield their gains in the Middle East from military assault; providing them with an unassailable base from which to conduct the long, hard struggle to conquer Europe. Given the population growth among Europe’s Muslims, coupled with the ability to pump fighters and equipment from the Middle East into Europe via Turkey, the ultimate demise of Europe’s secular democracies is all but inevitable. Turkey, more so than even the United States, must come to terms with the fact that it faces an implacable threat to its east; a threat that will consume it next, after the fall of Iraq and Syria, should it fail to take action now against ISIS.

Opinion by Graham J Noble


BBC News

3 Responses to "Turkey Will Be Next if Iraq, Syria Fall to ISIS"

  1. Sumer   August 22, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Turkey has been supporting ISIS in background…how is it possible that ISIS is able to sell its oil there. Turkey downing the Russian Jet, bringing NATO and Russia close to war, after that Russian destroying ISIS oil supply in Turkey and then the coup attempt clearly indicates someone wants the Turkey government to go but it survived. It is said that Russian government warned Turkey’s government about the coup. Now this is the background. Its not after Iraq and Syria, actually it will start right away…ISIS will engage Turkey as well, not that intense as in Syria and Iraq but yes as arms will arrive so will the attack on Turkey increase…you reap what you show…the entire muslim world has been fighting with others and when there are no others then among themselves.

  2. Turk   September 20, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Your analysis is very long term. It is difficult to know what will happen 10-20 years from now. That is why in foreign policy having a shorter-term view usually yields better results. Right now ISIS does not pose a direct threat against TR. If TR joins the fight against ISIS, however, there is the possibility of numerous terrorist attacks and suicide bombing in TR. It is not fair to criticize TR for not wanting to fight ISIS; unlike France or USA etc., TR is literally a few kms away from ISIS mess. I also do not agree with your prediction that TR will be the next target of ISIS after Syria and Iraq. Turkey is a crowded country (75m), NOT ARAB, very secular, and has a very advanced army. Before taking on Turkey, ISIS would probably wanna deal first with the weaker Arabic countries (there are more than 10), where it has a greater chance to be militarily victorious and to be accepted by the local population. And ISIS will probably be destroyed before ever achieving that goal.

    • Graham Noble   September 20, 2014 at 2:18 pm


      Whilst I believe that my analysis is a very realistic long-term prediction, I find it hard to disagree with anything you suggested in your comment. Thank you.

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