The New Dynamics of Radicalization: From Balkans to the Middle EastMarch 11, 2016
The civil war in Syria has created many significant ripple effects both regionally and internationally. The war’s spillover effect and the rising radicalization that has manifested in the foreign fighters phenomena have alarmed all regional and international powers. The conflict, now in its fifth year, has inadvertently increased radicalism to the point where it has become a significant threat to the national securities of countries in the Middle East and the Balkans.
Identifying the causes of radicalization to prevent its spread is the most urgent priority on the to-do list of most countries. Who is an extremist? How should we frame radicalization? What is the main motivation behind it? Does it differ from one case to another? What kind of radicalization is considered threatening? How should it be prevented? Are counterterrorism policies efficient and sufficient? Is prison the best tool for de-radicalization? How has increased radicalism in the Balkans and Middle East affected the securitization of these regions and what can governments and societies do to help curb radicalism and violent extremism in their countries?
The Daily Sabah Centre for Policy Studies hosted several events and roundtable meetings to discuss and analyze these questions. Framing the problem is necessary to find concrete solutions. Understanding what radicalization is and the roots of its process is as crucial as analyzing its outcomes. In this regard, a panel discussion on “The New Dynamics of Radicalization: From the Balkans to the Middle East” was organized by DS Centre for Policy Studies in conjunction with the Political Economic and Social Research Foundation (SETA) and the Kosovar Center for Security Studies (KCSS). It took place on Feb. 1, 2016 in Istanbul. The panel touched on many key issues, including the challenges in defining radicalism, the theoretical approaches to radicalism and the issue of foreign fighters. The panel also discussed how state and non-state actors can coordinate their efforts to prevent young people from joining groups like DAESH. The panelists included Tuncay Kardaş of the Middle East Institute at Sakarya University in Istanbul; Florian Qejaha, co- founder and executive director of KCSS; Ömer Behram Özdemir, an associate professor at Sakarya University who focuses on Turkish foreign fighters and Skender Perteshi of KCSS. The event was moderated by Murat Yeşiltaş of SETA.