The trans-border purpose of Al Qaeda is to overthrow the existing governments in Muslim countries, which the terrorist organization considers as “puppets of the West”, and to establish so-called Islamist regimes among which borders will be removed. In line with this aim, the Al Qaeda structure in Turkey has tried to carry out terrorist attacks against the US and its allies, considering itself to be in contribution to the foundation of so-called Islamist State in Turkey. However, as a result of persistent and successful police operations against Al Qaeda in 2003, the main body of the terrorist organization has been dismantled.
Structure of the Terrorist Organization
Al Qaeda, being active in various countries, can be considered as an “umbrella organization.” It does not have a common hierarchical structure and there is no direct connection between the Center (Core of Al Qaeda), cells, local organizations and sympathizers. Activities are decided on independently and it is considered that the terrorist organization has different level reflections in each country. Al Qaeda elements in Turkey were discovered to have gone to Afghanistan for fighting during the Soviet invasion and to still keep their connections there.
As it is understood from the leaflets and other documents issued by the terrorist organization as well as from the messages announced by senior members of the terrorist organization, the primary target of Al Qaeda is the US.
The allied countries and organizations, notably Israel, are additional possible targets. Muslim countries cooperating with the West are also considered as its target. Accordingly, leaders of Al Qaeda such as Ayman Al Zawahiri have recently made statements targeting Turkey due to her relations with the West and to her having military presence in Afghanistan.
Al Qaeda has appeared to be a matter mostly with its suicide attacks and bombings. The explosives used by the terrorist organization were prepared with easily-obtainable chemicals.
On November 15-20, 2003 four suicide attacks were performed in Istanbul against HSBC Bank, British Consulate and two Jewish Synagogues, Neve Şalom and Beth Israel, as a result of which, (61) people –among them (4) were suicide bombers- died and (647) people were injured. Also, in 2005 a suspected member of the terrorist organization who was believed to be in planning a terrorist attack against Israeli cruise ship in Antalya, was arrested in the south-eastern city Diyarbakır, and the attack was prevented.
Main sources of income of the terrorist organization are donations and fees collected from the sympathizers.