Dutch intelligence report: ISIL uses Turkey as strategic base to reorganize

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An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on August 23, 2013 allegedly shows a member of Ussud Al-Anbar (Anbar Lions), a Jihadist group affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Qaeda's front group in Iraq, holding up the trademark black and white Islamist flag at an undisclosed location in Iraq's Anbar province. Attacks in Iraq killed 14 people including six soldiers on August 25, Iraqi officials said, amid a surge in violence authorities have so far failed to stem despite wide-ranging operations targeting militants. Arabic writing on the flag reads: "There is not God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God." AFP PHOTO

The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) has said the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) is using Turkey as a strategic base to reorganize, posing a threat to the security of Europe, the Kurdistan24 news website reported.

In a report published on Monday, AIVD said that after the start of the Syrian conflict, Turkey “was for a long time a springboard for an unprecedented number of foreign fighters who traveled to Syria from all over the world.”

“ISIS (and also Al Qaida) use Turkey as a strategic base,” the report said. “From here, ISIS can recover, reorganize and further shape the underground struggle in the region.”

AIVD also said the extremist group was able to exploit “the relative peace in Turkey to forge plans to (re)shape its still present international ambitions.”

According to Dutch intelligence, the Turkish government does not consider jihadist groups a security threat.

“The fact that Turkish interests do not always correspond with European priorities in the field of counterterrorism is problematic,” the report continued, noting that Turkish authorities do act against both ISIS and al Qaeda but prioritize the fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), for instance.

“As a result, both organizations have enough breathing space and freedom of movement to be able to maintain themselves.”

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