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Turkish Airstrikes on Kurds Complicate Fight Against ISIS

Turkey's military

In recent days, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured above) has been celebrated for stepping up Turkish airstrikes targeting Islamic State terrorists, but also widely critiqued for bombing Kurdish military organizations, who have been instrumental in helping U.S.-led coalition airstrikes crush Islamic State terrorists.

Airstrikes Against the Kurds

Media outlets across the world have questioned the Turkish airstrikes against the Kurds, stating that they are counter-intuitive to the campaign to degrade and destroy the so-called Islamic State, which has relied heavily on the PKK affiliate in Syria, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG.

The Washington Post reports that Turkey’s airstrikes have effectively ended a truce between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish government. Turkey’s airstrikes further complicate the United States’ air war against the Islamic State, which has relied heavily on a PKK-allied group of Syrian Kurds, called the People’s Protection Units (YPG), to make advances in northern Syria.

In a press release, US Senator John McCain said:

I am concerned about reports of Turkish forces shelling Kurdish villages inside Syria. As the United States and Turkey enhance our cooperation against ISIL, I believe these mutual efforts will be most effective in collaboration with local forces on the ground, including the Kurds.

The New York Times also reported:

Turkey’s abruptly renewed focus on the Kurds has raised new questions about Mr. Erdogan’s true motives. Among his critics in Europe, some are asking if he is less interested in fighting the Islamic State than suppressing the Kurds.

Erdogan Critiqued on Twitter

Many took to Twitter to voice their disappointment with Turkish airstrikes on the Kurds, saying that Erdogan’s airstrikes are at odds with NATO’s anti-ISIS strategy.

Without vocal criticism by NATO or the United States government, Erdogan and Turkey may be able to continue their strikes against Kurdish targets. As a result, the U.S.-coalition will be losing boots on the ground against the Islamic State.

[To Read More, Visit The New York Times]

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