Turkey challenged by terror in 2015

Terror and security issues gave Turkey hard time throughout 2015, however, country managed to overcome by taking necessary measures

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jan 1, 2016

Last year was not an easy one for Turkey. As the country held two general elections throughout the year, there was a continuous terror threat to its national security within and outside the country.

The first move against external terror threats was Turkey’s first open military operation in Syria. The operation was called ‘Shah Euphrates.’ Turkish troops relocated the historic Ottoman tomb of Suleyman Shah due to DAESH threat and evacuated military personnel who were protecting it.

However, threat from DAESH continued within the country’s borders. On July 20, 34 people died when the massive explosion hit Suruc District in southeastern province of Sanliurfa.

Later in the year, another DAESH attack hit the country’s capital of Ankara. Total of 103 people died and more than 500 were injured when the twin bombings targeted a “peace” march in Ankara which was organised by leftist labor unions.

DAESH was not the only terrorist organisation that Turkey dealt with. PKK also carried out many terror attacks within the country. Around 200 Turkish security officials died in those attacks.

The terrorist organisation caused damages in southeastern provinces including historical sites.

The highest civilian profile victim of PKK terror attacks was head of Diyarbakir Bar Association,Tahir Elci.

Elci was shot dead after reading a press statement condemning recent PKK terror attacks in Sur region in southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

Elci’s last words were; "We do not want any clashes and weapons in this ancient region which hosted several civilizations.”

Meanwhile, DHKP-C carried out several terror attacks and caused insecurity particularly in Turkey’s western provinces.

The outlawed left wing group which is recognised as a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and US, attacked several sites in Istanbul including Istanbul Police Department, historical Dolmabahce Palace, and US Consulate.

The DHKP-C also raided Istanbul Courthouse and killed Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz who had been investigating the killing of Berkin Elvan.

The 14-year-old boy Elvan was injured during the Gezi Park protests and died after spending 269 days in coma.

In addition to DAESH, PKK and DHKP-C, Turkey also fought against another terrorist group called the Gulenist Terror Organisation (FETO).

An extensive investigation into the group begun after FETO was accused of attempting to overthrow the elected Turkish government through a judicial coup in December 2013.

Later, FETO was determined a national security threat for Turkey and the group is accused of engaging in illegal wiretapping, blackmail and issuing threats.

The investigations into the group continued in 2015. Fethullah Gulen, the leader of the group, was put on the bounty list and companies affiliated with the organisation investigated.