- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 21, 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 horrible.

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 2001.

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 Iraq.’”

“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 force.”

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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