For months, officials have expressed fear about the prospect of ISIS, with its huge territorial gains in the Middle East, making its way to Europe. The indications are that their influence has already spread across the Bosporus, however, into the Turkish city of Istanbul.
From jihadist bookstores to people in ISIS-flag t-shirts riding the public transportation, Istanbul University students are expressing growing concerns that the ISIS war they’ve been reading about in the news has showed up in their city, Turkey’s largest.
“I couldn’t understand what was happening at first,” said student Aysegul Korkut, who was with a group of leftists that got into a clash on campus with pro-ISIS Islamists.
Support for ISIS is growing, with an “ISIS gift shop” reported to have set itself up entirely to sell ISIS-branded merchandise to locals. Though it’s far short of the sort of ISIS presence seen in Syria and Iraq, their profile seems to be growing markedly.