Turkish and Western media reported today that Turkey’s interim government has given orders to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to prepare an incursion into Syria. The orders were given after Kurdish YPG forces in Syria seized large swaths of territory along the Turkish border and after Islamic State conquered the area west of the city of Marea–where two important strategic border crossings between Syria and Turkey are located.
The British paper The Independent reported that the move is related to the Kurdish advances in the battle against Islamic State. Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey (pictured above) warned the Kurds not to establish an independent Turkish state in Syria.
“I am saying this to the whole world: We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria,” Erdogan said.
Turkey has a long-standing conflict with the Kurds about the ownership of southeast Turkey, which is claimed by the Kurdish Workers Party that calls the area “Northern Kurdistan.” The government in Ankara thinks that the establishment of an autonomous Kurdish area in Northern Syria will inspire its own Kurdish population of twelve million to do the same in Turkey.
Chances are very low that Turkey will intervene in Syria to join the battle against ISIS. There have been reports about the collaboration between the outgoing Islamist AKP government and Islamic State.
Turkish analyst Lale Kemal wrote today that a Western military analyst had pointed to the fact that Turkey is the only country in the region that has not been attacked by Islamic State thus far. She wrote that this is for a good reason: ISIS knows that Turkey is its lifeline to the outside world.
A short while after news broke about the Turkish plan, President Tayyip Erdogan convened the National Security Council to discuss the possible cross-border military operation. The Independent reported that up to 18,000 could be deployed in Syria. The paper based its report on both pro- and anti-government media in Turkey.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth