January 13, 2016


'IS wants to weaken the government in Ankara' : For a long time, 'IS' fighters left and entered Syria across theTurkish border, but lately, Ankara has been actively combatting the group. Turkey has thus become IS enemy number one, says Middle East expert G√ľnter Meyer. (Deutsche Welle, 1/13/16)

Turkey has often been accused of turning a blind eye to IS in its own country. It is said that Turkey even tolerates it, as foreign fighters have unrestricted entry to Turkey in their travels to Syria. Why is IS fighting Turkey, of all countries?

From the Turkish viewpoint, in the past, IS has supported the two most important goals Erdogan wants to reach in Syria. One goal is to bring down the Assad regime in Damascus and replace it with a pro-Turkish, Sunni regime. The other one is to do anything in his power to prevent the establishment of an autonomous Kurdish region or state along the southern Turkish border to Syria. So the early "Islamic State" military victories against the Kurds in northern Syria and the capture of Kobane were thus in Turkey's interest.

But a turning point has come, especially because Turkey has allowed the US to use the Incirlik air base to launch air strikes against IS. German reconnaissance missions are also launched from Incirlik. That is obviously not in the interest of the terrorist group.

Turkey has thereby become part of the anti-IS coalition, which it also weakens by fighting against the Kurds. How does that work?

In the past, Turkey has not only supported the delivery of weapons and other logistic supplies to IS but it has also permitted free access of foreign IS supporters to Syria. Wounded IS fighters have been treated in Turkish hospitals. Financial support for IS sympathizers from the entire Islamic world has been organized in Turkey. The country has also benefited from the purchase of Syrian oil and thus guaranteed a main source of IS revenue. But we have now clearly reached a turning point: Turkey's support of IS has been dwindling - mainly because of US pressure.

Posted by at January 13, 2016 3:45 PM