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Flag of Turkey
  1. Turkey Main Page
  2. A New Republic and President
  3. Oppression of Kurds and Kurdish Culture and Deadly Clashes
  4. Terrorism; Attempts to Improve the Government
  5. Improvements for Civil Rights and the Secular Movement
  6. Turkey Takes on Bigger Role on the World Stage
  7. 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Turkey
  8. Relations Between Syria and Turkey Deteriorate
  9. Israel Formally Apologies to Turkey for 2010 Commando Raid
  10. Anti-Government Protests Call for Erdogan's Resignation
  11. Erdogan Elected President
  12. Erdogan Resists the Fight Against ISIS
Erdogan Resists the Fight Against ISIS

Members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria kidnapped 49 people from the Turkish consulate in Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014. Those abducted included Consul General Ozturk Yilmaz and several members of his family. Despite the threat posed by ISIS, Turkey has been reluctant to join the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS, presumably because of the hostages. The hostages were released in late September, and in early October Turkey's parliament voted to authorize military action against ISIS in Iraq and in Syria and also to allow other nations to launch attacks from its territory. However, as ISIS laid siege to Kobani, a Kurdish-dominated town in north-central Syria that borders Turkey, causing about 130,000 Kurdish refugees to flood into Turkey, Erdogan refused to intervene militarily or allow Kurdish fighters to enter Syria through Turkey because the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is fighting ISIS. The PKK has been at odds with the Turkish government for more than 30 years over independence, but ended its armed struggle with the government in March 2013 to begin peace talks. Before he deploys troops, Erdogan wants the U.S. to increase aid to the rebels fighting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and create a no-fly zone in northern Syria. His stance outraged Kurds in Turkey, who have long felt oppressed by the government. Thousands of Kurds took to the streets to protest the government's unwillingness to intervene, and about 30 people were killed in the violence.

The U.S. launched airstrikes on Kobani in early October, trying to prevent ISIS from taking over the strategically located town and gaining additional smuggling routes to arm fighters. Rather than assist the U.S. in its fight against ISIS, Turkey in October attacked installations of the PKK in the southeast, near the border with Iraq. The move outraged Kurds and also frustrated U.S. officials who were counting on the NATO ally for support. The Turkish government shifted its policy in late October, and started to allow a limited number of Iraqi Kurdish members of the pesh merga to cross from Turkey into Kobani, Syria, to fight ISIS. After five months of fighting, the Kurds—backed by 700 U.S.-led airstrikes—liberated Kobani from the grip of ISIS. The victory came at an enormous cost, as the city was devastated by ISIS militants and the airstrikes. Iraqi Kurds, called the pesh merga, and members of the PKK, joined Syrian Kurds in defending Kobani.

See also Encyclopedia: Turkey .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Turkey
State Institute of Statistics www.die.gov.tr/ENGLISH/index.html .

Information Please® Database, © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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