Radicalization in Europe: European foreign fighters in Syria

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2016
Yıldız, Şengül
Since the start of the Syrian Crisis in 2011, there has been an emergence of unprecedented number of foreign fighters pouring to Syria especially from Europe, Middle East and North Africa with the aim of joining radical groups. This unprecedented number of foreign fighters has increasingly sparked a debate on the concept of radicalization due to the fact that this development has created great security threats regarding what causes people to be radicalized and to become foreign fighters. For this reason, this thesis aims to answer two interrelated questions: What causes European citizens to be radicalized to the degree that they get involved in the civil war in Syria as foreign fighters and what are the internal dynamics of different countries or sub-regions causing them to produce higher number of foreign fighters than others? Europe will be specifically taken as a region to be analyzed since the emergence of foreign fighters has created a great challenge in this region where a considerable number of Muslims live in. Lastly, this thesis has discussed that the Nordic countries as a sub-region in Europe have produced higher percentage of foreign fighters relative to their Muslim population than Western Europe and the Southeastern Europe. The reason of this situation are tried to be answered by examining socioeconomic conditions, integration problems and radical networks of European Muslims in comparison to Western Europe.