Those who have followed the month long fight for Kobane know what’s really behind the reversal in Turkey’s position. Quite simply the Kurds in Kobane have outfought ISIS, outmatched the jihadists, and outlasted the insufferable pressure from both ISIS and the Islamic State’s ideological ally, Recep Erdogan.
Turkey, a NATO member, could no longer stand in the sunlight of the world’s scrutiny, and the pressure upon Sunni President Erdogan was building. Having just suffered an embarrassing defeat in a bid to gain a U.N. Security Council seat Erdogan reverses position and allows Turkish Kurds to go and defend their sisters and brothers in arms.
MURSITPINAR, Turkey — Turkey said Monday that it would allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to cross its border into the besieged Syrian town of Kobane, where Syrian Kurds are battling Islamic State militants.
The opening of a land corridor would be another potential boost for the Kobane defenders following U.S. airdrops of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to them late Sunday.
But the deal, the subject of intensive U.S. diplomatic talks over the past week, also depends on whether the separate Kurdish groups can resolve their deep differences in the interest of confronting a common enemy.
The tentative nature of the agreement reflected the convoluted history and political calculations of all parties, particularly the Kurds, whose ethnic homeland spreads across Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran.
Turkey had opposed delivering weapons to Kobane’s Syrian Kurds because of their affiliations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group based in southeastern Turkey that has fought Turkish forces since the mid-1980s, seeking greater autonomy. Its leaders have threatened to tear up a recent peace accord with Turkey if Kobane falls.
Turkey and the United States have declared the PKK a terrorist organization, raising additional complications for American policymakers.
While the United States understands Turkey’s concerns, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Monday during a visit to Indonesia, “We cannot take our eyes off the prize here. It would be irresponsible of us, as well as morally very difficult, to turn your back on a community fighting ISIL, as hard as it is, at this particular moment.” ISIL is one of several acronyms for the Islamic State. (read more)
Kurdish Women Fighters in Kobane