10/09/2014, 00.00
TURKEY - UNITED STATES - SYRIA

Washington asking a reluctant Turkey to do "more" against the Islamic state

A statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry confirms that the US is putting pressure on Ankara, which however is more concerned about the possibility that Syrian Kurds autonomy alongside the largely autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan might boost a push for autonomy by Turkish Kurds. Turkey also wants the coalition to get rid of Assad.

Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) - US Secretary of State John Kerry said he expected Turkey to decide "over the next hours, days" what more it may do to confront the Islamic State (IS).

The statement confirms that Washington is putting pressures on Ankara to act as war rages in and near Kobane between Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish forces.

The Turks "are using excuses not to do more," said a US official, speaking about talks between Washington and Ankara. "It's a larger objective with them than Kobane . . . a larger discussion," he added, suggesting that Washington was playing a longer game with Ankara about "the role they can play overall here."

Meanwhile, Turkey's military has deployed tanks on the border, not far from the city. For now, they are just sitting on the sidelines, as IS militants fight to gain control of Kobane. At the same time, Turkish authorities are preventing Turkish Kurds from helping their compatriots in Syria.

In Turkey itself, the death toll from protests over the government's inaction has hit 22.

Turkey is ambivalent about the fight across its border because of its distrust of Kurdish fighters protecting Kobane. It views them as an extension of the Kurdish PKK, the rebel group that has waged a long and bloody insurgency against Ankara.

In recent days, Turkish officials have in fact gone out of their way to suggest that they view IS and the PKK as terrorist groups.

Underlying everything is Turkey's fear that if Syrian Kurds achieve autonomy next to an autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkish Kurds would be next.

In addition, Ankara wants the anti-IS coalition to aim at removing the Assad regime. Responding to critics, " Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, "The ones who were silent in the face of the death of 300,000 people in the past 3.5 years, ignoring the use of chemical weapons, SCUD missiles and barrel bombs [in Syria], are suddenly putting an effort to create an international perception as if Turkey must immediately solve the problem in Kobane itself".

Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
As airstrikes fail to stop Jihadist push in Kobane, ground operation appears necessary
08/10/2014
Kurdish victory in Kobane worries Erdogan
27/01/2015
Ankara to allow Iraqi Kurds to cross to fight Islamic state
20/10/2014
For Nuncio in Damascus, pope's efforts on Syria to be admired, but peace needs a miracle
08/02/2016 18:59
Jihadist flag removed in Kobane after Kurdish counter-offensive against Islamic state
14/10/2014