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Ankara cracks down on IS; but is it too little too late?

Turkey has recently moved to counter Islamic State recruitment in the country, but it faces a difficult time reintegrating jihadist returnees from Syria and Iraq, some of whom have been traumatized by their experiences.
Members of the Turkish police counter attack team guarding President Tayyip Erdogan stand in front of a mosque after the President left following Friday prayers in Istanbul, Turkey, May 29, 2015.  REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTR4Y0MZ

Estranged from his family and ravaged by a drug habit for most of his adult life, Murat reckoned he had nothing to lose the day he left his home in Ankara for the self-proclaimed caliphate of the Islamic State (IS). As he crossed the Syrian border in full view of Turkish troops in February 2014, Murat concluded that his own government was equally nonchalant about his future. When the 29-year-old returned home late last month, he discovered that the rules of engagement along Turkey's border had changed. Apprehended by the Turkish military within minutes of his crossing, Murat was arrested and charged with membership in a terrorist organization.

Released pending trial, Murat returned to his tumbledown home district of Haci Bayram, in Ankara, to find police staking out the men who had helped funnel recruits like himself into Syria. “It was never like this before,” said Murat, who asked that his real name be withheld for fear of retribution. “Now there are police here. Now we are being followed.”

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