News magazine in secular Turkey honors al Qaeda

News magazine in secular Turkey honors al Qaeda

By Nicholas Birch
August 22, 2005

ISTANBUL — A new magazine titled Kaide — Turkish for al Qaeda — praises
terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, glamorizes the July 7 bombings in London
and vividly illustrates that extremism lurks in this secular nation where
Islam is tightly regulated.

Edited in Turkey’s most cosmopolitan city, Istanbul, and available on
newsstands everywhere, the magazine veers between the laughable and the

Headlines such as “The Taliban have killed 600 GIs” jostle for space
with proud revelations of yet another jihadist decapitation in Iraq.
U.S.-led forces ousted the hard-line Taliban regime from Afghanistan in late

The main editorial sets “domination” as its goal and
“Christian-Jewish-Western imperialism” as its main object of hate.

With investigations continuing into a Turkish group that took
responsibility for four suicide bombings in Istanbul in November 2003 that
killed 62 persons, the magazine underscores the continuing appeal of
militant Islam in a nation that seeks to join the European Union.

“Our souls are tied with al Qaeda,” Kaide editor Ali Osman Zor told the
secular weekly Tempo at his magazine’s office in Kasimpasa, a poor Istanbul
district in which Turkey’s prime minister grew up. “We are honored to have
this tie.”

Asked to explain the magazine’s cover headline — “Al-Qaeda is
liberating the world” — he described recent bomb attacks on London and the
Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheik as “payback” for the “100,000 Iraqi
civilians … killed in the name of what [President] Bush calls ‘liberating

“I do not consider those killed in the London attacks as innocent,” he
said, “because [they] paid taxes to the English government … which is
responsible for the killing of thousands of Muslims.”

Barely two years ago, Mr. Zor and his editorial colleagues seemed likely
to spend most of the rest of their lives in jail.

A former spokesman for the Great East Islamic Raiders Front or IBDA-C —
an extremist Salafist group set up in the late 1970s — Mr. Zor was
imprisoned in 1999 for “attempting to overthrow Turkey’s secular state by

The group’s leader, Salih Izzet Erdis, is still in solitary confinement,
but many of his followers were pardoned last year.

It is a decision the government may have regretted when IBDA-C took
responsibility later last year for the four Istanbul bombings — a claim met
with skepticism within the Turkish intelligence community.

Like another newsletter the group publishes, Aylik, the main aim of
Kaide appears to be to broaden support, but it is difficult to tell whether
it will succeed.

Support for Islamic extremism in Turkey always has been limited and
appears to be diminishing. Seven percent of Turkish respondents to a Pew
poll released last month expressed “some confidence” that bin Laden would
“do the right thing regarding world affairs.”

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