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Turkey Denies US Claims About Allowing Use Of Military Base To Fight ISIS, Bombs Kurdish Fighters

It seems the Obama Administration jumped the gun on announcing that the US would be allowed to use its military base in Turkey to attack ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria as the Turkish government is now flatly denying they ever made such an agreement. Turkey was previously a noted supporter of ISIS and has always shown a lukewarm interests in taking on the militant group despite being a member of the Obama Administration’s coalition against ISIS. Turkey has continually said it would only agree to fight ISIS if there was also a plan to take out the Assad government.

Though Turkey’s commitment to taking on ISIS may be soft, the Turkish military has shown little hesitation in attacking Kurdish forces. The Turkish air force reportedly bombed Kurdish militants who are rising up against the Turkish government for their alliance with ISIS and refusal to allow Kurdish fighters to enter the city of Kobani from Turkey. That policy has already led to riots across Turkey in cities with significant Kurdish populations. 35 people have died as a result with more likely if the unrest continues.

A day after American officials said Turkey had agreed to allow its air bases to be used for operations against the Islamic State, which they described as a deal that represented a breakthrough in tense negotiations, Turkish officials said on Monday that there was no deal yet, and that talks were still underway.

The Turkish comments represented another miscommunication between the United States and its longtime ally Turkey, as President Obama pushes to strengthen an international coalition against the militants that control a large area of both Syria and Iraq, by securing a greater role for Turkey. The Turks have insisted that any broad support to the coalition is dependent on the mission going beyond the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL, to also target the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, which Turkey has long opposed and blames for creating the conditions that led to the rise of the extremists within Syria and Iraq.

Another miscommunication of sorts was when Vice President Biden let it slip that Turkey had been helping ISIS, he later apologized for saying what everyone knows is true. Turkey and Qatar have been major backers of ISIS with Saudi Arabia backing Al Nusra/Al Qaeda – all hoping to oust the Assad government.

Given that there are an estimated 15 million Kurds living in Turkey it is not surprising that the Turkish government is considerably more concerned with preventing an uprising than defeating ISIS. The Kurds living in Turkey have risen up in the past and little prevents such an uprising occurring again besides a fragile truce between Kurdish leaders and the Turkish government.

Turkish support for ISIS and the refusal to allow Kurds from Turkey help defend the city of Kobani may have effectively ended the truce and ushered in yet another conflict in the Middle East. This one between US allies.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Turkey Denies US Claims About Allowing Use Of Military Base To Fight ISIS, Bombs Kurdish Fighters

It seems the Obama Administration jumped the gun on announcing that the US would be allowed to use its military base in Turkey to attack ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria as the Turkish government is now flatly denying they ever made such an agreement. Turkey was previously a noted supporter of ISIS and has always shown a lukewarm interests in taking on the militant group despite being a member of the Obama Administration’s coalition against ISIS. Turkey has continually said it would only agree to fight ISIS if there was also a plan to take out the Assad government.

Though Turkey’s commitment to taking on ISIS may be soft, the Turkish military has shown little hesitation in attacking Kurdish forces. The Turkish air force reportedly bombed Kurdish militants who are rising up against the Turkish government for their alliance with ISIS and refusal to allow Kurdish fighters to enter the city of Kobani from Turkey. That policy has already led to riots across Turkey in cities with significant Kurdish populations. 35 people have died as a result with more likely if the unrest continues.

A day after American officials said Turkey had agreed to allow its air bases to be used for operations against the Islamic State, which they described as a deal that represented a breakthrough in tense negotiations, Turkish officials said on Monday that there was no deal yet, and that talks were still underway.

The Turkish comments represented another miscommunication between the United States and its longtime ally Turkey, as President Obama pushes to strengthen an international coalition against the militants that control a large area of both Syria and Iraq, by securing a greater role for Turkey. The Turks have insisted that any broad support to the coalition is dependent on the mission going beyond the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL, to also target the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, which Turkey has long opposed and blames for creating the conditions that led to the rise of the extremists within Syria and Iraq.

Another miscommunication of sorts was when Vice President Biden let it slip that Turkey had been helping ISIS, he later apologized for saying what everyone knows is true. Turkey and Qatar have been major backers of ISIS with Saudi Arabia backing Al Nusra/Al Qaeda – all hoping to oust the Assad government.

Given that there are an estimated 15 million Kurds living in Turkey it is not surprising that the Turkish government is considerably more concerned with preventing an uprising than defeating ISIS. The Kurds living in Turkey have risen up in the past and little prevents such an uprising occurring again besides a fragile truce between Kurdish leaders and the Turkish government.

Turkish support for ISIS and the refusal to allow Kurds from Turkey help defend the city of Kobani may have effectively ended the truce and ushered in yet another conflict in the Middle East. This one between US allies.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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