The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is attracting a steady stream of recruits among Turkish youth and an estimated 1,000 have already joined the militant group, the New York Times reported Monday, citing Turkish media reports and government officials in Ankara.
The report cited “the group’s ideological appeal” and the “money it pays fighters from its flush coffers” as the main reasons why Turkish youth are joining ISIS.
After U.S. President announced last week plans to lead a military campaign against ISIS, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said the group had between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters in Iraq and Syria.
Turkey has said it would not take part in the military campaign against the group in fear over the fate of 49 Turkish hostages being held by ISIS since June.
But President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said this week that the military was working on plans to establish a “buffer zone” against ISIS militants.
“The armed forces are working [on plans]. They will bring them to us. We will decide if it is necessary,” Erdogan reportedly told Hurriyet daily and other media.
Erdogan reportedly made the comment to a group of reporters on board his plane while he was returning from Qatar.
Although Turkey is ruled by an Islamist-rooted political party which for the past decade has adopted political stances favorable to Islamist regime in the region, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in the Gaza strip, Turks recruited by ISIS say they identify more with the radical extremist system of the ISIS, according to the New York Times.
By Al Arabiya
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