ISIS Brought New Headaches For Turkey
A battle to oust ISIS from a key Syrian town just steps from Turkey’s border elicited a new round of allegations about Ankara’s commitment to fighting the network, but it also highlighted the difficult choices Turkey faces in dealing with the notorious militants as the only NATO country that shares a border with the caliphate.
In just two weeks, more than 20,000 Syrians fleeing the fighting poured into Turkey as ISIS fighters, on the opposite side of a chain-lined fence, tried to hold their ground.
By Tuesday the tide had turned and the black flag that hung menacingly at the Tal Abyad border crossing for roughly a year was torn down and replaced. Kurdish fighters and allied rebels managed to oust the radicals from the town and choke off crucial supply routes to ISIS territory in Syria.
Hailed as a victory in the West, it was greeted more soberly in Ankara where the increasing power of Kurdish militias is also viewed as a threat. “This doesn’t bode well,” Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters as the Kurdish fighters advanced. “This leads to a structure that poses a threat to our borders,” he said.