The Wall Street Journal
February 25, 2015
Regarding the article “Islamic State Exploits Porous Border” (World News, Feb. 20), the movement of extremists across Syria’s border shouldn’t be pinned exclusively on past or current Turkish policy. The case of Hayat Boumeddiene highlights a troubling lack of in-the-moment intelligence and information sharing between allies in the fight against Islamic State, which allowed her to flee France and travel through Spain and Turkey on her way to Syria. Better protocols are needed to ensure that those with ties to extremism are first detained in their countries of origin and that Turkey has all the tools necessary to apprehend the individuals who do make it to its border.
Turkey’s open border has been a lifeline for the 1.6 million refugees and asylum seekers who have sought refuge from the barbarity of Islamic State and widespread insecurity in the region. Turkey’s allies in Europe and America that ask that Turkey maintain a completely sealed border would do well to keep in mind this humanitarian crisis, as well as the difficulty the U.S. has historically had in policing its border with Mexico, a much less volatile neighbor. Turkey’s geography places it at the heart of any proposed solution to insecurity in the Middle East. Recent advances in intelligence-sharing capacity between Turkey and Western governments represent encouraging steps, but the international community must work more closely than ever before to ensure the halt of the flow of extremists both within and outside of Turkey.
President, Turkish Heritage Organization