October 17, 2014
by Justine Dodgen
Over the last few weeks, the United States has escalated its offensive against ISIS, also referred to as ISIL, Daesh, and the Islamic State. As ISIS continues to launch attacks in Iraq and Syria, notably the siege of Kobani, a town on the Syria-Turkey border and home to a predominately Kurdish population, the US and other NATO members have urged Turkey to play a larger role in countering ISIS advances. Turkey has the opportunity to emerge as a leader to the region and demonstrate good governance by taking a stronger stance against ISIS and upholding the peace process with its Kurdish minority.
While Turkey holds a unique position to influence the larger political dynamics of the region, as well as the outcome of the Kobani offensive, Turkish leaders have disagreed with the US over what actions should be taken- and who they should be taken against. As one US military official noted, the US and Turkey are involved in a “six-sided war” that includes ISIS; Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government; the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, a Kurdish rebel group; the Kurdish minorities in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey; the Free Syrian Army, a moderate opposition group; and the international coalition including the US. While the US is only targeting ISIS, Turkey is split between its confrontations with the PKK and ISIS as well as Assad’s Syrian regime. (more…)