In a move that would strengthen Ankara’s capacity to fight mayhem unleashed by The Islamic State, the NATO has pledged full political to Turkey support to fight ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Turkey was also asked to handle the Kurdish peace process carefully and not use excessive military force to undermine the peace process. After a 90 minute-meeting in Brussels, Turkey got the support it wanted to step up its role in the US-led fight against the Islamic State with air strikes.
Some of the European nations expressed concern that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan may be using this opportunity to fight the Kurdish groups and bomb them. However, several nations in the meeting called for a proportionate use of military force against Kurdish militants. Turkey has been advised by NATO to continue with the domestic peace process with the Kurds which was supported by the international community for many years. “Reconciliation should continue,” the Netherlands’ ambassador to NATO, Marjanne de Kwaasteniet, said on Twitter.
The US and Turkey have agreed to create safe zones inside Syria for persons displaced during the civil war which would relieve the pressure on Turkey which has more than a million Syrian refugees in its territory after the civil war broke out. While the US has made concessions pledging to work with Turkey, both countries made outlines for the safe zones but did not make any plan in detail, according to some reports.
With Turkey facing a crisis from two different ends, one with the Islamic State and another from the Kurdish militants, Ankara has to tread a tightrope and ensure that the peace process with the Kurds isn’t impacted. Any negative impact on the peace process with the Kurds could further spiral the ongoing crisis in Turkey and create volatility and regional security problems. While NATO backs Turkey in this fight, Turkey cannot afford to misuse this support against the Kurdish peace process, as the ripple effect of this would be felt across the entire region.
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