Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Turkish Government Should Support Syrian Kurds against ISIS
Press Release

RELEASE: Turkish Government Should Support Syrian Kurds against ISIS

Press Contacts

  • Tom Caiazza

Washington, D.C. – Syrian Kurdish fighters and their allies have taken a key border town from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, but have been met with fear and hostility from the Turkish government. Officials in Ankara fear the advance could result in the creation of an independent Kurdish state along Turkey’s southern border. According to analysis released today by the Center for American Progress, the Turkish government’s position is misguided, and officials in Ankara would do more to advance Turkish security by supporting these fighters as they take on ISIS.

“The Turkish government has completely misread the situation along its southern border,” said Max Hoffman, CAP Policy Analyst and author of the paper. “Any defeat for ISIS is a boost for Turkish and regional security, and these Syrian Kurdish groups insulate Turkey against some of the chaos in Syria. There is little prospect of an independent Kurdish state anytime soon, and the Kurdish groups identify as Syrians and are among the more moderate rebel groups in the fight against ISIS. Supporting these fighters, not opposing them, is in Ankara’s best interests and would allow Turkey to improve the humanitarian situation in northern Syria while strengthening their own influence over the outcome.”

Read more below about the reaction of Turkish officials to the capture of Tel Abyad from ISIS, Ankara’s fears of Syrian Kurdish rebels, and the reasons why the Turkish government should support these fighters in conjunction with the United States.

Click here to read the column.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.