After nearly a year of extremist violence taking place in Northern Syria, the once ambivalent Turkish government has decided to send troops across the border – to fight the enemies of ISIS. Despite the atrocities ISIS has caused in the Kurdish controlled region of Rojava – Northeast Syria – Turkey still considers the religiously tolerant, pro-western Kurds to be a greater threat than the Islamic State. The aim of the military operation is, according to Turkey’s President Recap Erdagon, to prevent Syrian Kurds from establishing an independent state in Syria.
While the decision to establish a military operation against the only ground troops who oppose ISIS seems shocking, many of Turkey’s recent actions have made this scenario quite predictable. During the Islamic State’s siege of the Kurdish controlled city of Kobani, Turkish troops and tanks idly watched the battle from the comfort of their border. In addition, when Turkish Kurds attempted to cross the border to assist the Syrian Kurds, the Turkish military violently stopped them.
President Erdagon has shown no signs of changing his Kurdish stance. “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,” Erdogon said. “We will continue our fight in that respect whatever the cost may be.”
Under the banner of NATO, a country we in America call an ally has refused to aid in the fight against ISIS, and now have chosen to fight against the enemies of ISIS. During the siege of Kobani, American air support was an important reason for the success of the Kurds in their confrontation against ISIS. However, Turkey has now shown they prefer it if the Islamic State controls that region. America can not stand and wait while our “allies“ assist extremist groups in their oppression, their genocidal aspirations, and their devotion to medieval barbarism.
With one NATO country aiding a group and another NATO member attacking the very same group, the time for reform has clearly arrived. If an ally can attack the most-reliable, pro-western group in the region, one that has fought and died in droves to protect innocent Middle Eastern lives from ISIS, the institution of NATO must be considered a joke. If NATO hope to maintain a shred of dignity, they must come together to condemn Turkey for their selfish support of the largest terrorist group in world history.