Turkey’s Critical Role in the Global Coalition

Foreign Terrorist Fighters

Turkey operates a robust policy at all its airports and border crossing to put a stop to individuals attempting to join Daesh.

Turkey has put in place a broad array of mechanisms to disrupt or stop the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Iraq and Syria. Since 2011, Turkey has worked with source countries to urge them to take the necessary legal and administrative measures to prevent departure and travel of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) from their countries. Turkey also has in place a comprehensive no-entry list developed in partnership with Turkey’s international partners to prevent the transit of extremist travelers through Turkey. Turkey continues to enhance security measures to stop and intercept foreign terrorist fighters at airports and other border crossing points through Risk Analysis Units established specifically for this purpose.

As a leading member of the Coalition, Turkey is also a Co-Chair of the Coalition’s Working Group on Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The Coalition’s Working Group focuses on supporting and encouraging actions that promote intensified and accelerated exchange of actionable information on FTF travel, facilitating effective communication channels and points of contacts between Coalition members.

Countering Daesh’s Finances

Because of Turkey’s strict border controls, Daesh has had its attempts to export oil thwarted.

Turkey, in line with United Nations Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014) and 2199 (2015), has launched a comprehensive strategy targeting Daesh’s financing and disrupting and preventing the terrorist organisation from raising, moving and using funds. As part of Turkey’s international leadership and co-operation in this field, Turkey co-led a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) typology project on Daesh with the US. As an active member of FATF, the Turkish Financial Intelligence Unit (MASAK) co-operates with other Financial Intelligence Units tackling terrorist financing. Turkey is also an active member in the Coalition’s Working Group on counter financing.

Turkey employs effective and robust measures to prevent smuggling activities along its 911km land border with Syria and its 331km land border with Iraq. Turkey conducts a zero-tolerance policy regarding illegal cross-border activities and takes robust action against oil smuggling across its borders.

In response to the increasing lawlessness on the Syrian side of Turkey’s border since 2011, Turkish law enforcement and security forces have stepped up their efforts to counter threats to Turkey’s border security including smuggling activities stemming from Syria.

Turkey already has in place a strong and robust legislative framework in place to stamp out oil smuggling through its 2003 Anti-Smuggling Law. This has been further strengthened over recent years. In 2005, a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry led to the revision and strengthening of the Petroleum Market Law in 2006. In 2012, the Action Plan on Countering Oil Smuggling was revised. A  Circular Order (2012/19) by the Prime Ministry for enhanced measures was also then introduced. Most recently, legislation was passed on 11 April 2013 which increased the penalties for oil smuggling as well as the sale of smuggled oil in gas stations in the country. Turkey’s enhanced measures have continued to target smuggling networks since 2012.

Turkey, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2199 (2015) regularly provides  information to the UN Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee about incidents of smuggled oil and the amount of oil seized in the border area with Syria and Iraq. Due to enhanced and effective border security measures the amount of smuggled oil has decreased considerably. In 2014, 21 million gallons of smuggled oil was intercepted by Turkish law enforcement and customs authorities. Owing to the effective measures taken to prevent oil smuggling, in 2015 this amount decreased to 322,289 gallons.

Military Contribution

From the Global Coalition’s inception, Turkey has played a full role in the Coalition’s military efforts to deny Daesh safe haven and to build the capacity of those leading the fight against Daesh. Turkey has:

  • Allowed its airspace to be used by Coalition aircraft for both combat and non-combat roles, including intelligence gathering and personnel recovery;
  • Opened its facilities to the US and other Coalition partners, allowing over 60 aircraft with over 1,200 personnel to be deployed on counter Daesh operations in Syria and Iraq;
  • Hit Daesh targets through air, artillery and other military assets, destroying 487 Daesh targets;
  • Hosted “Train and Equip” programming; and
  • Secured Turkey’s border along Daesh controlled territory.

Border Security

An increase in border controls has seen the amount of illegal crossings decrease dramatically.

Turkey has employed effective and enhanced measures securing its border with Syria and Iraq. Within this context:

  • Only two border gates operate on Turkey’s border with Syria and no vehicle transit is allowed. Goods not subject to UN sanctions are carefully and systematically scrutinised and only delivered to the other side of the border after a thorough customs check.
  • Additional personnel, patrols and equipment are now in place along Turkey’s border with Iraq and Syria. Turkey’s land borders with Iran, Bulgaria, Greece, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Syria are secured by 50,000 military personnel. 20,000 of those personnel are deployed to protect and secure Turkey’s border with Syria, supported by air defence and reconnaissance. 90 percent of unmanned air vehicle operations are focused in the Syrian border area to detect illegal crossing and smuggling activities.
  • Turkey has strengthened its physical security measures along its 911 kilometers border with Syria at considerable cost. The “Syrian border physical security system” now being introduced will cost US$81 million.

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