Turkey continues inaction in Kobane despite US, NATO criticism

World Today

Turkey continues to reject criticism that it’s not doing enough to save the northern Syrian town of Kobane from the onslaught of Islamic State fighters. Turkey has been reluctant to intervene across its border even though it is an ally to the U.S. and NATO — raising questions about the country’s commitment to NATO. CCTV America’s Natalie Carney reported this story from Istanbul.

Turkey continues inaction in Kobane despite US, NATO criticism

Turkey continues to reject criticism that it's not doing enough to save the northern Syrian town of Kobane from the onslaught of Islamic State fighters. Turkey has been reluctant to intervene across its border even though it is an ally to the U.S. and NATO -- raising questions about the country's commitment to NATO. CCTV America’s Natalie Carney reported this story from Istanbul.

Turkey’s unwillingness to fight has irked the U.S. and other NATO allies, whose aircraft carry out daily air strikes on Islamic State targets around Kobane.

Ankara may continue to stay on the sidelines until NATO is willing to take the fight all the way to Damascus.

“Why constantly attack the town of Kobane? It’s difficult to understand that approach. That’s why I wondered why the coalition forces haven’t wanted to operate in other Syrian territories,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

In October, Erdogan said Turkey wouldn’t commit its troops unless the U.S. gave more support to the rebels trying to bring down the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. The Turks blame Assad for turning Syria into a spawning ground for ISIL.

Ankara has also called for a NATO no-fly zone over northern Syria to protect the millions of refugees displaced by the civil war.

Turkey is a unique member of the alliance. It is the only one in the Middle East and the only one with a predominantly Muslim population. This gives Turkey leverage, and the government appears to believe it’s worth resisting alliance pressure to fight, especially when other NATO countries aren’t doing it either.

But Turkey’s reluctance to fight wars is nothing new. In Turkey’s 60-year history in NATO, it has mostly stayed out of direct combat operations against other Muslim countries.