Turkish War Against ISIS & PKK

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Am I getting ahead of myself by hoping ISIS/ISIL gets smacked down? you know, in the "smack a bitch down" sense? And then every time they stand back up, they get smacked down again?
Turkey's current poisiton at the moment is securing it's borders, i guess it will continue to pound ISIS elements positioned near the border at the first phase.

Maybe later with the coalition, it can perform some airstrikes in Syria.
 
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For Erdogan, Turkish assault is about containing the Kurds as much as fighting Isil

Experts say they do not expect the bombing to spread into a wider confrontation

For Erdogan, Turkish assault is about containing the Kurds as much as fighting Isil - Telegraph
Not true. Turkish assault come only because they targeted our military. Now, Daesh is paying the price for it.

However containing the Kurds is a real argument. Turkey won't let Kurds to establish a belt under our soouthern border. Erdoğan has said that Turkey will prevent this whatever the cost may be.
 
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Turkey hits Kurdish militant camps in northern Iraq
ANKARA


A Turkish Air Force A400M tactical transport aircraft is parked at Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, July 24, 2015.

Reuters/Murad Sezer

Turkey said on Saturday that its fighter jets hit militant camps of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq overnight, and Turkish ground forces struck the PKK and Islamic State fighters in northern Syria.

The strikes against PKK targets are likely to be a major blow to the stalled Kurdish peace process.

Turkey launched its first-ever air attack against Islamic State targets in Syria early on Friday, promising more decisive action against both the jihadists and Kurdish militants.

Fighter jets hit PKK targets in several locations in northern Iraq, including warehouses, "logistic points", living quarters and storage buildings, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office said.

The outlawed PKK, deemed a terrorist organization by Ankara and Washington, has waged a three-decade insurgency against Turkey for greater Kurdish autonomy.

Turkey stepped up its role in the U.S.-led coalition against the militant group Islamic State on Friday. As well as launching its first air strikes against the hardliners in Syria, it promised to open up its air bases to the United States.

Police also detained more than 300 suspected Islamic State and PKK members in a police crack down on Friday, Prime Minister Davutoglu said after vowing to fight all "terrorist groups" equally.

Turkey's more active role comes after a suspected Islamic State suicide bomber killed 32 people, some of them Kurds, this week in the border town of Suruc. That touched off a wave of violence in the mainly Kurdish southeast, with the PKK killing at least two police officers, calling it retaliation for the suicide bombing.

Many Kurds and opposition supporters have suspected Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AK Party of covertly backing Islamic State against Kurdish fighters in Syria, something the government has repeatedly denied.

Erdogan took a big political risk in starting peace talks in 2012 with the Kurds, who represent nearly 20 percent of Turkey's population, but they now blame him for backtracking on promises.

On Friday, Erdogan said he had told U.S. President Barack Obama that the PKK, which he calls a separatist organization, would be a focus for attacks.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Gulsen Solaker; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Paul Tait and Susan Fenton)
Turkey hits Kurdish militant camps in northern Iraq| Reuters
 
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Quote :

Turkey, US to create ‘ISIL-free zone’ inside Syria


Serkan Demirtaş - ANKARA
July/25/2015


Turkey and the United States have agreed on a military action plan with the objective of clearing the Turkish-Syrian border of jihadist terrorists in what the two countries have called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-free zone.

This action plan was part of a comprehensive deal between the two allies which has been seen a “a game changer” in the fight against ISIL by the United States administration, whose warplanes will be able to use this region’s most strategic military base in İncirlik as part of its aerial campaign against jihadist positions.

The ISIL-free zone will be 98 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide and situated between the Mare-Jarablus line. A good portion of this area is currently under ISIL control, and Turkey already vowed it would not tolerate the jihadists posing a threat to the Turkish border.

Sources emphasized they have opted to call it the “ISIL-free zone” instead of a “security or safe zone” because the objections raised by Washington, who refrained from giving the wrong message to the Syrian regime, as well as Russia and Iran. The idea of the name is to show that the main objective of this Turkish-American joint fight is eliminating ISIL in this particular area and not fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The aerial campaign will be largely carried out by U.S. jets deployed to the İncirlik base and Turkish participation will be considered only when necessary, sources stressed. However, this aerial protection will not be classified as an effort to build a no-fly zone over Syrian airspace. Together with aerial strikes, Turkish long-range artillery units will also be used if necessary.

Turkey had already reinforced its military presence along the Turkish border, especially across the Mare-Jarablus line, after ISIL began to advance to northwestern Syria in a bid to threaten the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and to spark a fresh refugee influx towards Turkey.

FSA to control the emptied zone

The plan crafted by Ankara and Washington foresees the deployment of FSA units to this area if ISIL is completely cleared from that particular zone, which would both prevent the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) from further expanding its influence towards the West and create a safe environment for either sheltering Syrians fleeing violence or those who want to return to their homelands.

Turkey is currently hosting at least 1.8 million Syrians in its territories, with around 265,000 of them in refugee camps. There have been concerns ISIL’s drive through the populous Western parts of Syria could spark fresh refugee inflows into Turkey.

Hurriyet Daily News


...

Thanks Hakan !


Buffer Zone-Secure Zone Confirmed by Foreign Minister. ISIS (or ISIL) cleared areas will become a secure zone for refugees - therefore also FSA -.



...
 
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Sticked.
 
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#23

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ISIS blows up truck bombs at Syrian town near Turkey’s border

A relative of slain soldier Mehmet Yalcin Nane, killed Thursday by ISIS militants when they attacked a Turkish military outpost at the border with Syria, is helped by others as he arrives for the funeral in the town of Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey. (AP)

By Staff writer, Al Arabiya News
Saturday, 25 July 2015

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants on Saturday detonated explosive laden trucks in two villages near the Kurdish-controlled Syrian border town of Tel Abyad, with reports of casualties, a monitor that tracks the war said.

The UK-based Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks targeted Kurdish YPG checkpoints in two mainly Arab inhabited villages on the south eastern edge of the town.

Tel Abyad, in a strategic location on the border with Turkey, was taken last month by Kurdish forces from ultra-hardline jihadists in an advance backed by U.S. led air strikes.

The news come after Turkey launched its first-ever air attack against ISIS targets in Syria early on Friday, promising more decisive action against both ISIS and Kurdish militants.

Turkish forces on Saturday also unleashed a third wave of airstrikes and ground attacks on ISIS targets in Syria and Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.

(With Reuters)

Last Update: Saturday, 25 July 2015 KSA 18:00 - GMT 15:00
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/25/ISIS-blows-up-truck-bombs-at-Syrian-town-near-Turkey-s-border.html
 
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PKK says conditions for Turkey truce no longer in place


Masked supporters demonstrate with some thousands of supporters, not pictured, waving various PKK flags and images of jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, left, in southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, Thursday, March 21, 2013 (AP)

AFP, Istanbul
Saturday, 25 July 2015

Kurdish militants on Saturday said the conditions for maintaining a ceasefire with Turkey were no longer in place after Turkish warplanes bombed their stronghold in northern Iraq.

“The conditions for maintaining the ceasefire... have been eliminated,” the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), the military wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said in a statement, denouncing an “aggression of war” by Turkey and vowing “resistance”.

The two sides had until now largely observed a fragile ceasefire since 2013

Last Update: Saturday, 25 July 2015 KSA 22:05 - GMT 19:05
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/25/PKK-says-conditions-for-Turkey-truce-no-longer-in-place.html
 
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Iraq’s Kurdistan slams Turkish airstrikes on PKK


In addition to the air raids, Turkish ground forces also carried out artillery strikes against ISIS in Syria. (File: AP)

Dina al-Shibeeb, Al Arabiya News
Saturday, 25 July 2015

The leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan on Saturday condemned Turkish airstrikes against positions of PKK Kurdish rebels in its autonomous region in the north of Iraq, the first comment from the autonomous northern Iraqi region’s leadership while Baghdad kept quiet.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that Turkey has unleashed a third wave of airstrikes and ground attacks on targets of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Syria and PKK militants in northern Iraq.

“We have given instructions for a third series of strikes in Syria and Iraq. Air and ground operations are under way,” he said. “No one should doubt our determination.”

He added: “We will not allow Turkey to be turned into a lawless country.”

His remarks came after week of violence in Turkey, including a suicide bombing blamed on ISIS and attacks on Turkish police claimed by the PKK - deemed a terrorist organization by Ankara and Washington.

Barazani speaks to Davutoglu
In response, Kurdish regional President Massud Barzani spoke to Davutoglu on the telephone and “expressed his displeasure with the dangerous level the situation has reached,” a statement said.

“He requested that the issue not be escalated to that level because peace is the only way to solve problems and years of negotiations are better than one hour of war,” Barzani said in a statement.

The Kurdish militants did not keep quiet and sounded the alarm on Saturday that the conditions for maintaining a ceasefire with Turkey were no longer in place.

“The conditions for maintaining the ceasefire... have been eliminated,” the People’s Defense Forces (HPG), the military wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said in a statement, denouncing an “aggression of war” by Turkey and vowing “resistance.”

Unusual move
Bombing PKK has puzzled some observers especially as the Kurdish militants have been key in fighting ISIS. Turkey has also long been criticized for not joining the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes against ISIS in neighboring Iraq and Syria, making the bombing raids against ISIS as the first such actions against the group by the only NATO Muslim member state.

“The reason is very simple, [Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s government believes PKK is much more of a dangerous opponent for the Turkish government than ISIS. In fact it thought ISIS was sympathetic to it,” George Joffe, a research fellow at the Centre of International Studies at Cambridge University, told Al Arabiya News.

Joffe added: “Turkey simply ignored ISIS when it was using Turkey as a place to get support.”

However, Turkey’s more active role comes after a suspected ISIS suicide bomber killed 32 people, some of them Kurds, this week in the border town of Suruc. The deadly attack sparked a wave of violence in the mainly Kurdish southeast, with the PKK killing at least two police officers, calling it retaliation for the suicide bombing.

“We do not know if [the bombing] was ordered by ISIS or a dissident member. We don’t know,” Joffe speculated.

U.S. pressure
Turkey’s involvement in airstrikes against ISIS is also due to U.S. pressure to jump on the bandwagon. On Thursday, Turkey agreed to allow the U.S. military to use an airbase to strike ISIS in Syria following the suicide bombing in Suruc, which is just across the border from Kobane.

Kirkuk-based strategic analyst Abdulrahman al-Sheikh Talib described the simultaneous airstrikes against ISIS and PKK in the same time as loaded with “contradictions.”

“The opposition Kurdish forces have long fought ISIS wholeheartedly and ideologically and with determination, this creates some questions on the ground,” Talib said.

He added: “Secondly, the violations continue for many times on Iraqi land in light of an absent Iraqi legislation that prevents such interference by the Turkish forces.”

The analyst said that during the rule of deposed leader Saddam Hussein, Iraq allowed Turkey to hit Kurdish targets. However, he said there is a current movement in the Iraqi parliament to draft legislation to prevent neighboring Turkey from doing so.

Yet the Iraqi government has so far been silent since the attacks began. Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan, have had a long history of bickering over oil revenues. In mid-July, Iraq’s foreign minister sought “uninterrupted” military support from neighboring Turkey in its fight against ISIS.

“There is a fury in Kurdistan over the airstrikes that hit villages in Iraq and there is also lack of trust over their airstrikes on ISIS [by Turkey] in Syria,” Talib said.

“The PKK militias hit by Turkey are a vital part in the fight against ISIS, which could dampen Iraq’s fight against the jihadists.”

Previous reluctance
Many analysts previously said that Turkey remained reluctant to join the U.S.-led campaign out of fears that the growing power of Kurdish forces will embolden its own Kurdish minority, and that militants could launch revenge attacks inside Turkey.

But when the fear of Kurdish forces strengthening their grip near Turkey’s borders materialized, Erdogan’s project to make peace with its Kurds, who represent nearly 20 percent of Turkey’s population, seemed under threat.

Turkey and its Kurdish minority had until now largely observed a fragile ceasefire since 2013. The strikes against PKK targets are likely to be a major blow to the stalled Kurdish peace process.

“Ankara needs to work on its internal problems and build a real democratic Turkey but the measures it followed do not help Iraq or Syria; it is only playing with fire,” Talib said.

Despite Erdogan’s gamble by starting peace talks in 2012 with the Kurds, they now blame him for backtracking on promises.

He added: “The peace process [between Turks and Kurds] took years. If Turkey cared for stability in the region, it has to guarantee internal stability and not to divert its public opinion that there is an external threat by hitting PKK.”

“Turkey has to tidy up its house and not to export its problems.”

On Friday, Erdogan said he had told U.S. President Barack Obama that the PKK would be a focus for attacks.

ISIS-Kurds confrontation closer to Turkey
Meanwhile, the confrontation between Syrian Kurdish YPG forces and ISIS, has been moved in Turkish territories since the Suruc attack, threatening Turkey.

On Saturday, YPG wrestled control from ISIS portions of Hasakeh, a Syrian city near the Turkish Sanliurfa province.

In Tel Abyad, another border Syrian town near Turkey, ISIS militants on Saturday detonated explosive-laden trucks in two villages.

Raids on ISIS, PKK affiliates
After Turkey detained 590 suspected members of ISIS, PKK and other militant groups, Davutoglu vowed to fight all “terrorist groups” equally.

His statements come after many Kurds and opposition supporters have suspected Erdogan and the ruling AK Party of covertly backing ISIS against Kurdish fighters in Syria, something the government has repeatedly denied.

“Turkey was allowing ISIS to use Turkey as a recreation area. It allowed medical service and crossing the border freely [for ISIS members] and the reason for the suspicion is that the Turkish security indirectly supported them,” Joffe said.

But Turkey vehemently rejected such claims.

Suleiman Karro, a journalist from Kobane, said that Turkey launching airstrikes against the militants is to “remove suspicion that it is supporting ISIS.”

(With AFP and Reuters)

Last Update: Sunday, 26 July 2015 KSA 00:22 - GMT 21:22
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/25/Turkey-justifies-Syria-air-strikes-in-letter-to-U-N-.html
 
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Turkey’s double trouble: ISIS and the PKK

Sunday, 26 July 2015


Brooklyn Middleton

The past several days in southeastern Turkey have seen significant bloodshed followed by high tensions and widespread unrest that has spilled over into Istanbul and Ankara. On 20 July, a 20 year old Turkish national, identified as Abdurrahman Alagöz and suspected of having ties to ISIS, detonated his explosives-laden body at a cultural center in southeastern Turkey’s Suruc province. The explosion ripped through a gathering of Socialist Youth Association (SGDF) members, who were discussing how to rebuild the war-torn Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane. The blast killed at least 32 people and injured another 104.

Following the deadly attack, demonstrations and unrest broke out across the southeast as well as Ankara and Istanbul. As protesters condemned the perceived failure of the Turkish government to prevent the attack, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) began plotting.

During evening hours local time on 21 July, PKK cadres killed at least one man they alleged was an ISIS fighter in Istanbul while another man accused of supporting the militant group was shot dead in his house in Adana province the following day.

Later on 22 July, two days days after the suspected ISIS bombing, PKK cadres fatally shot two Turkish police officers inside the men’s shared private residence in Şanlıurfa province. The militant group quickly claimed responsibility for the revenge attack, noting that, "A punitive action was carried out... in revenge for the massacre in Suruç.” Deadly PKK ambushes continued on 23 July with two masked gunmen shooting one policeman dead and injuring another in Diyarbakır province.

It is worth noting that even prior to the deadly attack in Suruc and the retaliatory PKK attacks, tensions between the militant group and Ankara had steadily and significantly increased recently. On 11 July, the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), released a written statement indicating PKK fighters would no longer uphold the tenuous ceasefire agreed in 2013, due to perceived violations by Turkey. According to Rudaw Kurdish website, the statement read, “Our guerrillas with responsibility pledged themselves to honor the ceasefire since the beginning of the process, but the Turkish government with its arbitrary actions has already resumed the war against the Kurdish people….The government has started the war against the Kurds and we will not remain silent.”

Meanwhile, hours after PKK militants ambushed two police officers in Diyakibir, ISIS extremists once again targeted Turkey, opening deadly fire across the Syrian border and killing at least one Turkish soldier while injuring at least two others in Killis province. The Turkish military immediately returned fire and mobilized their air force.

The deadly flare-up of violence between Turkey and the PKK can still deescalate in the immediate term

Brooklyn Middleton
Within several hours of the latest ISIS attack, Ankara announced a major shift in their policy: The United States-led coalition will now be able to launch attacks on ISIS from Turkey’s İncirlik base. The decision had reportedly been made weeks ago but the timing of the announcement is indeed relevant to note.

For a fleeting moment, it appeared as though Turkey was prioritizing the threat of ISIS over the threat of the PKK. But, following the announcement, the Turkish airforce aerially bombarded ISIS positions in Syria as well as PKK bases in Iraqi Kurdistan – the latter of which, according to the PKK, killed not only four of the group’s fighters but destroyed whatever remained of the ceasefire.

Since pre-dawn hours on July 24, Ankara has confirmed that the Turkish air force has carried out at least two rounds of airstrikes targeting PKK positions – the first since 2013 - and at least three rounds of airstrikes targeting ISIS. To note, Ankara had in fact more aggressively targeted ISIS in the recent term even prior to the Suruc bombing. Turkish security forces detained at least 45 suspected ISIS militants – all reportedly foreign nationals - in a three day period from 9-12 July in Gaziantep; those arrests followed the detainment of at least 21 other suspected ISIS fighters in Istanbul, Kocaeli, and several other locations during that same period.

ISIS carrying out attacks on and near Turkish soil while the PKK simultaneously resumes targeting Turkish security forces is the materialization of the country’s main security threats and likely many civilians’ worst fears. With the Suruc bombing clearly underscoring the fact that Turkey remains as susceptible as ever to a mass casualty ISIS attack, it is unlikely the country can risk entering into a sustained broader conflict with the PKK at this stage.

Turkey’s right to self defense
Meanwhile, a prolonged resumption of hostilities between the PKK and Turkish security forces will only further complicate the U.S.-led coalition’s efforts to combat ISIS. It is worth reiterating here, that this is the same coalition that Turkey just offered major support to and the same coalition which needs Kurdish support. In a carefully worded five-series tweet, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, Brett McGurk, noted U.S. support for “Turkey’s right to self defense,” but also urged de-escalation between the two parties. Most importantly, McGurk stated, “There is no connection between these airstrikes against PKK and recent understandings to intensify U.S.-Turkey cooperation against [HASHTAG]#ISIL[/HASHTAG].” The statement is unlikely to quell Kurdish fighters,’ instrumental in the fight against ISIS, fury with Ankara.

As Turkish security forces continue making mass counter-terror arrests – 590 suspected ISIS and PKK militants were detained in the last few days alone – efforts to prevent another major attack are likely to be stymied if Ankara continues fighting on two fronts at the same time.

The deadly flare-up of violence between Turkey and the PKK can still deescalate in the immediate term and must do so if Ankara’s commitment to aiding the U.S.-coalition in battling ISIS is to be long term. That said, Ankara deciding to now allow the U.S. to use its territory in its ongoing aerial offensive to attack ISIS could prove beneficial on two fronts domestically. The policy change could signal that Ankara is increasingly serious about thwarting ISIS, quelling some tension, and most importantly, can ultimately help prevent another major ISIS massacre on Turkish soil.

_____________

Brooklyn Middleton is an American Political and Security Risk Analyst reporting from Israel. Her work has appeared in Turkish and Israeli publications including The Times of Israel and Hürriyet Daily News. She has previously written about U.S. President Obama's policy in Syria as well as the emerging geopolitical threats Israel faces as it pursues its energy interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. She is currently researching Ayatollah Khomeini’s influence on Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant groups to complete her MA in Middle Eastern Studies. You can follow her on Twitter here: @BklynMiddleton.

Last Update: Sunday, 26 July 2015 KSA 13:34 - GMT 10:34
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2015/07/26/Turkey-s-double-trouble-ISIS-and-the-PKK.html
 
#28

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Why is Turkey scaling up efforts against ISIS now?


Civilians gather to watch fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group alongside Turkish soldiers aboard a tank holding a position overlooking the town Kobani, Syria, on a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, October 11, 2014. (AP)

By Menekse Tokyay | Special to Al Arabiya News, Istanbul
Saturday, 25 July 2015

In recent days, Turkey has witnessed a marked intensification of tensions along its 911 km (566 miles) long border with Syria. The tense security conditions underscored once again public fears about the spillover of the Syrian civil war into Turkish territories, and pushed the authorities to make a heavy response against terrorist targets.

Turkey has renewed its widespread efforts against terrorists following the latest massacre committed by an ISIS suicide bomber in the southeastern town of Suruc, killing 32 people and wounding 100 others.

Moreover, on Thursday 23, one Turkish soldier was killed and two others were wounded by shots fired from an area in Syria near the Turkish border town of Kilis which is held by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In a press statement, the Turkish military announced that they instantly retaliated by destroying ISIS bases across Syrian territory, killing one ISIS militant and destroying 3 vehicles belonging to ISIS in these revised rules of engagement.

On the very same day, U.S. President Barack Obama and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discussed in a phone call possible ways of boosting their bilateral cooperation against ISIS, including ensuring Turkey’s border security.

In the following days, Turkey carried out several rounds of airstrikes with F-16 warplanes for the first time against ISIS targets, reportedly killing at least 35 militants. Article 51 of the U.N. Charter provided a justification for Turkey to conduct air strikes citing the right to self-defense against an armed attack.

However, the same F-16s also hit on Friday night various training camps and logistic points operated by the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, which especially enraged Turkey’s Kurdish minority and is seen as a major blow to the Kurdish peace process in the country.

Kurdish news agencies ANF, DIHA, BasNews, Ozgür Gundem and Rûdaw are also closed in Turkey.

In line with the military measures, Turkey has begun reinforcing border security by deploying additional armored vehicles to patrol the frontier. In line with joint planning of Defense and Interior Ministries, it will start by identifying some critical points of terrorist flow at the border with Syria, and physical blocks will be built to stop illegal crossings.

According to reports, the border security will be further beefed up by stationing wire fences, security lights, unmanned vehicles, aerial mobile armored vehicles, surveillance balloons, and cameras along the border.

For the execution of the plan, the Interior Ministry has allegedly allocated about TL 2 billion sum, especially focused on the border provinces of Gaziantep, Kilis, Sanliurfa and Hatay.

After having agreed in principle during talks on early July, Ankara and the United States have also reportedly finalized the deal for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS to station aircraft at the NATO military base of Incirlik in Turkey, although both parties remain cautious about acknowledging the deal publicly. Reports say that the deal awaits the approval of Turkey’s cabinet of ministers.

So far, only President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on July 24 that Incirlik base would be used against ISIS within a certain framework.

Currently six U.S. Predator drones are stationed at the Incirlik Air Base, while two of them are expected to be equipped with Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. In the past, Turkey only allowed unmanned strikes from this base.

Metin Gurcan, a security policy researcher at Ankara's Bilkent University and a former special-forces officer, said there is a significant authority imbroglio especially at the border with Syrian town of Kobani, which prevents authorities to take solid steps to fill the security void.

“About 28 different bodies under state bureaucracy are held responsible for the border security, and most of them pass culpability on to the others because of the confusion about jurisprucence among these institutions,” Gurcan told Al Arabiya News, underlying the need to implement a specific border security plan along with an integrated border management system.

The issue of countrywide sleeper cells of ISIS is crucial for the anti-ISIS fight, as on early July 24, Turkish anti-terror police raided suspected ISIS and PKK locations in 22 cities, and detained 320 people in operations supported by thousands of police officers.

The operations will continue, President Erdogan told reporters on July 25, while at the very same day Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave a press speech saying that those who make Turkey pay a price will be made to pay tenfold.

According to Gurcan, along with border security measures, Turkey should implement an exhaustive grassroots program that will focus on districts where militants can be located and use social tools to cleanse the local roots of radicalization.

“ISIS is highly integrated into Turkey’s social structures. It has district-based networks and it uses violence against local people who do not obey them and their religious discourse, which discourages people to help Turkish security forces in retrieving ISIS’ sleeper cells,” he said.

The suicide bomber in recent Suruc blast, an ethnic Kurd from Turkey’s southeastern province of Adiyaman, was brainwashed by militants at a local teahouse, called “Islam”, which was used as a meeting place and prayer room for radical Islamists until eight months ago when it was closed for lacking a trading license.

However, for Gurcan, the opening of Incirlik airbase to hit the militant targets should not have been so much publicized and ought to have been carried out behind doors to avoid further provoking ISIS against Turkey.

Nihat Ali Ozcan, a retired major now serving as a security analyst at Ankara-based think-tank TEPAV, said the confrontation between two sub-state groups, Syrian Kurdish YPG forces and ISIS, has been moved in Turkish territories since the Suruc attack.

“However, with the increased engagement of Turkey with the anti-ISIS coalition forces, I don't believe that ISIS will remain silent. There will be an increased risk that it will retaliate with attacks inside Turkey and justify them through so-called religious references,” Ozcan told Al Arabiya News.

“The opening of Incirlik airbase, adjacent to the Syrian border, will provide coalition forces with immediate capability to hit ISIS targets with more geopolitical intelligence, decrease their costs of logistics. It will be a strategic gain for the coalition, but a serious loss for ISIS,” he underlined.

On July 26, pro-peace groups will organize the “Great Istanbul March” starting from the Taksim neighborhood in protest of ISIS terror and to call for peace.

Last Update: Saturday, 25 July 2015 KSA 13:04 - GMT 10:04
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/analysis/2015/07/25/Why-is-Turkey-scaling-up-efforts-against-ISIS-now-.html
 
#29

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Turkey policeman killed in Istanbul clashes

Left-wing protesters gather near a barricade during clashes with Turkish riot police in the district of Gazi in Istanbul, on July 26, 2015. (AFP)

By AFP, Istanbul
Sunday, 26 July 2015

A Turkish policeman was killed on Sunday during clashes with protesters in the flashpoint Istanbul district of Gazi which have raged for the last three days following the death of a leftist activist during raids by the security forces.

Policeman Muhammet Fatih Sivri was shot in the chest from inside a building while he tried to make an arrest during clashes which have raged all day, the official Anatolia news agency said.

He was rushed to hospital but died from his wounds, it added.

Turkish protesters had earlier engaged in pitched battles with the security forces in a third day of intense clashes in the area, an AFP photographer said.

Protesters hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at the police who responded with water cannon, plastic bullets and tear gas.

Some protesters then fortified their positions by erecting barricades in the middle of the street, the photographer said.

Protesters wrapped handkerchiefs around their noses and mouths to protect themselves from the tear gas, while others wore gas masks. Some took to roofs to throw Molotov cocktails onto the police from above.

Some tried to use a giant umbrella advertising a well known ice cream brand to protect themselves from the water cannon. But the force of the spray destroyed the umbrella, knocking protesters over.

The district, which lies well north of the city centre of Istanbul, has been tense since the killing of Gunay Ozarslan on Friday during nationwide police raids against suspected militants.

The raids were part of a nationwide crackdown on suspected militants as Turkish armed forces pounded targets of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Kurdish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq.

The Gazi district is known as a stronghold of Turkey's Alevi community, who adhere to an offshoot of Shia Islam.

Strong supporters of secular principles, many are bitter opponents of the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The area has been the scene of intense clashes since Friday but Sunday's rioting was some of the most serious seen so far as leftist groups from across the city joined in.

The clashes were sparked when the police moved in after activists refused to hand over the body of Ozarslan to the municipal authorities for burial.

Instead, the corpse is being kept in a local cemevi, an Alevi place of worship which the police tried to raid earlier.

The area was hit by several days of sustained rioting in 1995 that left some 20 people dead and was sparked by a gun attack on several cafes.

As well as IS and the PKK, the mass arrest operation has targeted suspected members of the PKK's youth wing, The Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), and the Marxist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C).

Pro-government media have linked Ozarslan with the DHKP-C but the circumstances of her death remain unclear.

Anatolia said Sunday that a total of 851 people have been arrested since Friday in the raids, which have taken place in 34 different provinces across Turkey.

Last Update: Sunday, 26 July 2015 KSA 22:52 - GMT 19:52
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/26/Turkey-policeman-killed-in-Istanbul-clashes-report-.html
 
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NATO calls crisis meeting at Turkey’s request

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (C) chairs a security meeting in Ankara, Turkey, in this July 23, 2015 handout provided by Turkey's Prime Minister's Press Office. (Reuters)

Staff writer, Al Arabiya News
Sunday, 26 July 2015

NATO Security General Jens Stoltenberg called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss security at the request of Turkey.

Turkey, the only Muslim-majority member of the security alliance, is currently targeting ISIS and PKK positions in Syria and Iraq respectively, while in Ankara, some officials are mulling the creation of a "safe zone" protecting Turkey's borders from militants.

NATO said in a statement on Sunday that the North Atlantic Council, which includes the ambassadors of all 28 NATO allies, would meet following a request by Turkey to hold consultations under Article 4 of NATO's founding Washington Treaty.

"Turkey requested the meeting in view of the seriousness of the situation after the heinous terrorist attacks in recent days, and also to inform allies of the measures it is taking," NATO said.

"NATO allies follow developments very closely and stand in solidarity with Turkey."

In Article 4, members are encouraged to bring subjects to the table for discussion for political consultation. Since the alliance's creation in 1949, it has been invoked several times, such as by Turkey in 2003 and in 2012, and Poland in 2014.

Germany, the Netherlands and the United States each sent two Patriot anti-missile batteries and soldiers to operate them at the start of 2013 after Turkey asked for NATO help in increasing border security due to the civil war in Syria.

The article reads: "The parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened."

It is less potent than Article 5, which recognizes an attack against one or more members as an attack against all.

Meanwhile, Turkish warplanes took off Sunday evening for a new wave of air raids on PKK bases in northern Iraq, according to Turkish media reports. The first round of bombardments, which were unleashed late Friday, has threatened to unravel a fragile truce between the two sides.

Earlier, two Turkish soldiers were killed and four wounded in a car bomb attack on their convoy in the mainly Kurdish southeast of the country, the local governor's office said Sunday.

The car bomb went off as the soldiers were travelling on a road in the Lice district of the Diyarbakir province late Saturday, the statement said, after PKK rebel group threatened to no longer observe a truce following Turkish air strikes on its positions in northern Iraq.

(With Reuters)

Last Update: Sunday, 26 July 2015 KSA 22:38 - GMT 19:38
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/26/NATO-to-meet-on-Tuesday-after-Turkey-s-request.html
 

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