Evans at AJAM: Turkey’s ISIL crisis is worse than you think
On Sept. 20, Turkey secured the release of dozens of its citizens who had been held captive by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) since June. In an effort to not jeopardize the lives of the hostages, Turkish leaders have been reluctant to publicly condemn the group. In June, the famously bullish Recep Tayyip Erdogan even said, “no one should expect me to provoke ISIS,” responding to accusations that his government has been passive in dealing with ISIL. Ankara has also refused to allow the United States, its closest military ally since 1947, to launch airstrikes from U.S. bases in Turkey. Now that the hostages are freed, Ankara should openly join the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL.
After two years of tolerating the group as it funneled recruits and supplies into Syria, Turkey has come to the realization that the group represents a serious threat to its national security. How did Turkey get into such a predicament?
Ryan Evans is the editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks.