From AP, “a glance at militant Islamic groups active in Turkey:
“-Islamic Great Eastern Raiders-Front, or IBDA-C: The group advocates Islamic rule in this predominantly Muslim but officially secular country and is allegedly backed by Iran. It has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s truck bombings outside two Istanbul synagogues that killed 25 people, but Turkish authorities dispute the claim.
“Active since the mid-1970’s, it has become increasingly violent in the last decade and has an estimated 600 followers. The group has staged attacks on left-wing and Christian targets. Its leader, Salih Izzet Erdis, also known as Salih Mirzabeyoglu, was captured in 1998.”
The progressive mentality has so overtaken Westerners that they tend to assume that once a society has attained to secularism, it will never wish to return to the bad old days of rule by religious law. (I am speaking, of course, about the kind of people who use expressions like “In this day and age!” and “This is 2003!”) However, as I have pointed out many times, the Islamic world in general doesn’t share such notions of “progress.” Instead, there are large contingents who believe that Turkish secularism was and is a grave misstep, an affront to Islam (which is a political and social system as well as an individual faith), and an unconscionable discarding of what is greater (the Sharia, the law of Allah) for what is lesser (the manmade laws of democratic republics). Unfortunately, many of these are willing to take up arms to press their point home.
“-Hezbollah: The Sunni group is not linked to Lebanon-based Shiite Hezbollah but it is also allegedly backed by Iran. It aims to create an Islamic state in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish regions. The group, which has a few thousand followers, is believed to be behind hundreds of killings of opponents in the region.
“The leader of the group’s most militant wing was killed in a shootout in Istanbul in 2000. Turkey allegedly supported Hezbollah when it was formed in the early 1980s, because it fought autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels.
-Islamic Action: Known for its strong affiliation with Iran, it aims to establish an Islamic state. Its members reportedly received military training in Iran. Authorities believe that the group was behind the killings of a few pro-secular Turkish intellectuals in the early 1990s.”
Interesting also to note the signs of cooperation here between Sunni Turkish militants and Shi’ites from Iran.