Turkey is full of ISIS cells whose primary functions are smuggling ISIS recruits across the border into Syria and smuggling commodities such as oil and antiquities and weapons that ISIS needs to sell and/or buy in order for the economy of Islamic State to function. It is no coincidence that ISIS began to attack Turkey after Turkey began to tighten security on its border with Syria, preventing ISIS from selling the oil and other black market commodities it needs to sell in order to thrive and arresting ISIS agents, supporters, and recruits both on the border and within Turkey, as well as compiling a list of thousands of ISIS supporters around the world and proceeding to ban them from traveling to Turkey.
Yet ISIS still relies on its secret cells scattered throughout Turkey to smuggle new recruits into Syria from Europe, North Africa and elsewhere, perhaps now more than ever, since the border is a bit less porous than it was prior to 2014. ISIS may avoid claiming responsibility for its attacks in Turkey because it wants to destabilize Turkey’s economy, government, and people ahead of its planned (and religiously prophesied) conquest of Istanbul, while delaying Turkey prioritizing the fight against ISIS over the fight against the PKK, which will lead to the uncovering and arresting of ISIS’s underground cells in Turkey. In fact Turkey arrested and detained many ISIS members and supporters in Istanbul, Izmir and elsewhere after the attack on the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul. Hopefully Turkey will now do what is necessary to eradicate the ISIS network within its own borders.