In response to an ISIL attack that murdered a Turkish border guard, Turkey has responded by positioning fighter jets on the country’s border with Syria, in possible preparation for airstrikes against ISIL targets.
The attack was the second major ISIL attack in Turkey, coming just days after a deadly suicide bombing in the town of Suruc, which killed 31 civilians. The victims were activists who had been planning to rebuild Kobani, the city where Kurdish forces repelled an ISIL siege earlier this year.
In a phone conversation with US president Obama, Turkish president Erdogan said he was planning to increase border security, to prevent extremists from operating in the border region.
While extremists trying to reach ISIS-held territory are still a major concern, an equally significant threat comes from ISIS members leaving Syria, to carry out terrorist attacks around the world.
But effective border control alone is not enough to prevent jihadist groups from threatening Turkey, Western Europe or the US. Both the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the attack in Chattanooga were carried out by domestic terrorists, radicalized by jihadist propaganda while living in the west. Combatting Islamist ideology remains crucial to preventing more attacks, and depriving terrorist groups of the recruits on which they depend.