Today, the conditions and forms of the emergence of threats have transformed, and many areas of threat, especially terrorism, have existed. Terrorism is an important security problematique, which affects states, communal living and individuals within the global system and has a high power of change. Despite having similar characteristics with several types of violent crimes in terms of use of violence and doing harm, terrorism differs fundamentally from traditional forms of criminal activities. Terrorists are especially trying to carry out attacks that attract the attention of the public, and thus, choose the types of targets that bear the highest probability of success. In this context, the most important output of terrorist attacks is to create a state of fear with high destructive power. While attacks were carried out on mainly government, financial, critical infrastructure or military targets in the past in traditional terrorism, today, due to its changing nature, terrorism increasingly targets crowded urban areas which are difficult to defend. The presence of cultural, historical and economic centers within cities, and the frequent presence of civilians within aforementioned places in their daily routines, has led to characterization of those domains called soft targets, as areas with psychologically high destructive power that increase fear and chaos for terrorist organizations. Studying the reasons behind the change in the target selection process of terrorist organizations is considered to be important in terms of literature. In this context, the main purpose of this research is to examine and evaluate soft targets which affect the strategies and tactics of terrorist organizations, and has the power to create high levels of fear within the targeted community through a literature review in a systematic approach from a conceptual perspective. The method of the study is composed of document analyses, which fall into the scope of qualitative research methodology. In the first part of the study, the conceptual framework of terrorism is discussed within the scope of research topics. In the second part of the study, the subject on how security and the change of threat areas accordingly are reflected in the target selection of terrorist organizations mentioned in the first part is examined and the reason for their shift to soft targets is detailed. In the third part of the study, the properties of the places defined as soft targets where civilians perform their daily routines and how these places are converted into targets by terrorist organizations depending on their properties are examined.


Terrorism, security, soft targets, terrorist organizations