U.S. Jets to Use Turkish Bases in War on ISIS

Redheart

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http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/24/world/europe/turkey-isis-us-airstrikes-syria.html

Turkey plunged into the fight against the Islamic State on Thursday, rushing forces into the first direct combat with its militants on the Syrian border and granting permission for American warplanes to use two Turkish air bases for bombarding the group in Syria.

The developments ended a longstanding reluctance by Turkey, a NATO member and an ally of the United States, to play a more aggressive part in halting the Islamic State’s expanding reach in the Middle East. American officials said it carried the potential to strike Islamic State targets with far greater effect because of Turkey’s proximity, which will allow more numerous and frequent bombings and surveillance missions.

Turkey, a vital conduit for the Islamic State’s power base in Syria, had come under increased criticism for its inability — or unwillingness — to halt the flow of foreign fighters and supplies across its 500-mile border.

Up to now, Turkey has placed a priority on dealing with its own restive Kurdish population, which straddles the Syrian border in the southeast, and in the toppling of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, whom the Turks blame for creating the conditions in his war-ravaged country for the rise of Islamic extremism.

But now that extremism has increasingly menaced Turkey, where 1.5 million Syrian war refugees have also been straining the country. A series of Islamic State attacks on Turks, including a devastating suicide bombing a few days ago that officials have linked to the extremist group, may also have helped accelerate the shift in Turkey’s position.

Turkish internal security officials had signaled their growing concern about the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, with a series of large-scale raids in the past few weeks, detaining hundreds of suspected ISIS members and sympathizers. Taking the fight to the Islamic State in Syria, however, represents a huge leap.

“The terrorist organization represents a national security threat to Turkey, and we are working closely with our allies, including the United States, to combat terrorism,” said a senior official in the prime minister’s office. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of government protocol restrictions, also emphasized that Turkey had not changed its position regarding Mr. Assad in Syria.

In what Turkish officials described as the first direct cross-border confrontation with the Islamic State, Turkish jets scrambled as tanks and artillery of its Fifth Armored Brigade shelled militants across the border. And early Friday, Turkish fighter jets hit four Islamic State targets within Syria, across the border from Kilis Province, without crossing into Syria, a Turkish security official said, according to Reuters.

Obama administration officials, who have been negotiating with Turkey for months, said Thursday that they had reached an agreement for manned and unmanned American warplanes to carry out aerial attacks on Islamic State positions from air bases at Incirlik and Diyarbakir. The agreement was described by one senior administration official as a “game changer.”

The agreement was sealed on Wednesday with a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Obama, another administration official said.

Turkey had allowed unarmed surveillance flights from Incirlik but had thus far balked at anything more muscular.

Officials at the State Department and the Pentagon said they were hesitant to talk about the pact until the Turkish government acknowledged it publicly. Turkish officials declined to comment on the pact Thursday night.

The United States and Turkey “have decided to further deepen our cooperation in the fight against ISIL,” the State Department’s spokesman, John Kirby, said in a statement. He said that “due to operational security I don’t have further details to share at this time.”

The clash between Turkey’s armed forces and the Islamic State came after gunmen identified by the Turkish military as Islamic State fighters fired on a Turkish border outpost in the Kilis region, killing one Turkish soldier and wounding five.

The Turkish military said in a statement that its border shelling was a response, and that at least one militant was killed. Turkish news media said a number of Islamic State vehicles were obliterated in the shelling.

The clash came three days after a suicide bomber with suspected ties to the Islamic State struck a cultural center in the Turkish border town of Suruc, killing 32 people.
 
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I say it's about time for Turkey to deal with this problem. Perhaps doing so might IMPROVE relations with its Kurdish citizens. If they feel that Turkey is at war with their enemy, they might feel like they can be part of the nation which they are citizens of.
Turkey is supposed to be a secular state, and is the home of one of the most important branches of Orthodox Christianity. Constantinople was the "second Rome" and Turkey can play a valuable role in making Islam part of world civilization, perhaps even returning it to its place as part of Christianity.
 
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I like that line that says - halting the Islamic State’s expanding reach in the Middle East. With the ongoing recruitment of ISIS in the internet, it is scary to imagine that they are getting trainees as young as 8 years old and recruits are mostly teenagers from progressive and peaceful countries like Europe. I think I am beginning to like Turkey and its firepower. It seems it is the anathema to ISIS.
 

Redheart

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Most of the oil ISIS stole was smuggled through Turkey's borders and sold on the black market. Now that Turkey is wading into the conflict [hopefully to bring it to an end] first thing ISIS loses is a market for the stolen oil. In the long-term this would cripple ISIS. If their fighters aren't paid well they won't be sticking around for long.
 
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