President Erdogan: Turkey ‘can’t stay out’ of Anti-ISIS Fight

87531199-01a8-4486-b2d0-d811a3a839d2_16x9_600x338Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadists, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday, as Ankara prepares in the coming week to define its military involvement.

Turkey has for months frustrated the West with its cautious position against ISIS, but there appears to have been a sea change in its policy following Erdogan’s trip last week to the United States.

“We will hold discussions with our relevant institutions this week. We will definitely be where we need to be,” Erdogan said in a keynote address to a World Economic Forum meeting in Istanbul.

“We cannot stay out of this,” he added.

ISIS militants have now advanced in Syria to just a few kilometers from Turkey, sending tens of thousands of people fleeing across the border.

Turkey has so far taken in over 160,000 refugees who fled the IS assault around the town of Ain al-Arab, but Erdogan said it would be better if they could live safely in their own country.

The president also reaffirmed his call for a buffer zone and no-fly zone within Syria to protect Turkey’s borders and the refugees. He also indicated ground forces could be needed.

“It is not possible only from the air, there is also a ground dimension,” he said.