Fighting ISIS Not A Priority For Turks Or Kurds

by Abbas Djavadi, Assyrian International News Agency

… In the last few months Turkish forces intensified their air and cross-border attacks against ISIS militants. They have been doing the same, even more aggressively, with the Kurdish militant groups that they accuse of being an extension of Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has been raging a bloody war against Turkey for the last 32 years.

Turkey is a NATO ally of the West while the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq as well as Kurdish militia groups in northern Syria (along part of the Turkish border) are the most reliable armed force for the West to fight against ISIS.

But the fact is that unlike in the West, fighting ISIS has never been and still is not Turkey’s No. 1 priority — that would be fighting PKK terror and separatism.

Kurdish militant groups also have their own agenda and priorities. But fighting ISIS is not their top priority either. They have used the Syrian civil war to take control of territories inhabited by Syria’s Kurdish minority and they are trying to expand that territory at the expense of other ethnic groups. They have even been accused of ethnic cleansing to reach their expansionist goal.

Their strategic goal seems to be to fill the gap of some 90 kilometers of the non-Kurdish part of northern Syria along the Turkish border. Ankara’s top concern is that this would mean expanding the Kurdish presence along the entire Syrian border, completing the ground for a “Greater Kurdistan” and even giving them access to the Mediterranean Sea.

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