Kilic Kanat and Kadir Ustun
Dr. Kanat is the research director at the SETA Foundation in Washington, DC, and an assistant professor of political science at Penn State University, Erie. He is the author of A Tale of Four Augusts: Obama's Syria Policy (SETA Foundation, 2015). Dr. Ustun, executive director at SETA, is an assistant editor of Insight Turkey. He is the co-editor of Foreign Policy in Turkey: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (SETA Foundation, 2015).
Turkey's struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL, IS) took on a new dimension in the wake of the Suruc bombing on July 20, 2015.1 Soon after this first planned attack by ISIS on Turkish soil, Turkey announced that it would participate in military operations against ISIS as part of U.S.-led coalition efforts. Turkey also decided to allow U.S. forces to operate against ISIS out of Incirlik Air Base as well as bases in Diyarbakir and Malatya. Several media reports indicated that the United States and Turkey would work toward creating an ISIS-free zone (although Turkey had long pushed for a no-fly zone in addition to a safe zone) that would be secured by moderate opposition forces. This decision has provided the United States with operational ease and cost effectiveness in the fight against ISIS while contributing to Turkey's efforts to secure its border with Syria. It can also help create a zone out of which moderate opposition forces can operate.
This agreement to cooperate against ISIS more effectively in military terms is a welcome development for U.S.-Turkey relations. However, the two allies are still struggling to forge a common perspective on the Syrian civil war as a whole. Moreover, U.S. support for, and cooperation with, the PKK-affiliated PYD force in Syria poses serious potential challenges for the relationship. In recent weeks, conflicting reports about the actual level of cooperation and coordination between U.S. special-operations forces and the Syrian Kurdish groups have raised questions in Ankara.2 For the time being, it seems that Turkey is going along with U.S.-PYD coordination while working with the United States on the creation of a safe zone. The most recent decision by the Obama administration to send 50 U.S. special forces to fight against ISIS3 may prove to be such a complication, as it indicates that the United States is taking its support for the PYD to the next level. Turkey has been clear about its red line vis-à-vis the expansion of PYD forces to the west of the Euphrates.4 This creates a risky situation in which Turkey may conduct military operations against PYD forces while U.S. special forces are embedded with them.
Turkey has worried that arms given to the PYD might fall into the hands of the PKK and be used against Turkey. Since July 2015, when the PKK announced the end of a long-held ceasefire with the state, Turkey has been conducting operations against the PKK across its border with Iraq and threatened to conduct operations in Syria if the PKK finds a safe haven there through its Syrian affiliate, the PYD. The stunning AK Party victory in the November 1 elections puts the ruling party in a stronger position to pursue the PKK across the border, as well as the PYD, if it tests Turkey's red lines. If Washington and Ankara cannot come to a comprehensive agreement on their strategy toward the Syrian civil war and different groups on the ground, their bilateral relations may face significant challenges in the coming months, rendering coalition efforts against ISIS more complicated and less effective.
TURKEY'S COUNTERTERROR STRATEGY
The Suruc bombing was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on Turkish soil; 33 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. It was not the first time that ISIS targeted civilians and security forces in Turkey. ISIS had threatened Turkey5 and conducted attacks as early as March 2014, when its operatives killed two Turkish security personnel at a checkpoint in a central Anatolian city.6 Following this incident, in June 2014, the Turkish consulate in Mosul was targeted in the most significant hostage crisis in the history of the Turkish Republic: ISIS kidnapped 49 consular personnel including the consul general.7 Just a few days before the June 7 elections, ISIS targeted Turkey once again, this time at a political rally in Diyarbakir.8 Following the Suruc bombing, ISIS continued its attacks against Turkish targets and killed a soldier at the border.9 This led to Turkey's retaliation in accordance with military rules of engagement. ISIS published threats against the Turkish government and launched a propaganda campaign against Turkey through both broadcast and social media. In a video message in June 2015, titled "The Conquest of Istanbul," ISIS members called upon Turks to support ISIS. The speaker in the video said, "Altogether and under the orders of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi… let's conquer Istanbul, which the traitor Erdoğan works day and night to hand over to crusaders."10
After each ISIS attack, Turkish security forces carried out operations against the organization, trying to increase border controls and eliminate the recruitment of Turkish citizens. Turkey also tried to stem the flow of foreign fighters and deported thousands of individuals suspected of planning to join ISIS.11 These were, arguably, traditional counterterrorism measures in response to the threat. However, following the Suruc attack, Turkey revised its strategy, adopting a new doctrine to deal simultaneously with all designated terrorist organizations, most significantly ISIS and the PKK. Concurrent with this new strategy, the Turkish government decided to allow U.S. forces to use Incirlik Air Base,12 and Turkish and U.S. fighter jets started to attack ISIS targets. Moreover, although talks about technicalities are still going on, there seems to be tentative agreement on creating an ISIS-free zone for the moderate opposition fighters who could eventually make possible the repatriation of some of the refugees currently residing in Turkey.13 While shouldering the refugee burden and managing the humanitarian crisis on the ground, Turkey has tried to secure its border through counterterrorism efforts. Ramping up the fight against ISIS and reacting to the Suruc bombing have served as catalysts for the revision of Turkey's counterterrorism strategy.
As Turkey initiated a doctrinal change in its fight against ISIS, however, the PKK started a process of escalation. Despite the harsh discourse used by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the People's Democratic Party (HDP) against one another during the election campaign, there was hope that the electoral success of the HDP could potentially speed up and complement the resolution process. However, shortly after the elections, the PKK escalated the fighting against the security forces. Several statements by high-ranking PKK leaders announced the end of the ceasefire and the resolution process.14
While analysts were pondering whether these statements were only rhetorical, intended to consolidate their base, or serious decisions made by the leadership of the organization, the PKK forces started to target Turkish security officers. PKK members in Sanliurfa forced their way into a private home and summarily executed two Turkish security officers in civilian clothing.15 This served as confirmation of the organization's earlier announcement that they were ending the ceasefire, which had held for more than two years. That attack also demonstrated that the PKK had shifted its strategy during the ceasefire to encompass assassinations and roadside bombings instead of large-scale attacks against military outposts. The Turkish state responded with military operations against the PKK inside Turkey and in northern Iraq. However, this show of determination did not deter the PKK. It has continued to attack Turkish security personnel, killing more than 130 as of September 2015.
As a result of the escalation by the PKK and ISIS, Turkey set out to pursue a two-front fight against both of them. In terms of Turkish-U.S. ties, this development brought both a new opportunity and a complication to the bilateral relationship. On the one hand, Turkey's active military participation in the international coalition was considered a welcome development by the United States. The use of Incirlik as well as the increasing coordination between the international coalition and Turkey would improve the effectiveness of the fight against ISIS. In particular, surveillance of ISIS activities would be easier and more convenient because of the use of Turkey's air bases. It would also bring the two NATO allies closer in their approach toward northern Syria, at least at the tactical level. Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, the two countries have found it difficult to achieve such coordination, and this has, in recent months, impacted strategic cooperation as well.
However, the positive atmosphere that emerged as a result of the recent coordination against ISIS is affected by Turkey's fight against the PKK following the end of the ceasefire, which has so far generated mixed reactions in Washington. Although the U.S. administration publicly expressed its support for Turkey in its struggle against terrorism,16 there seems to be an increasing emphasis on restraint and going back to the negotiating table.17 At this critical juncture, the United States has been particularly concerned about a possible disruption of its support for the PYD forces. Washington has worried that its fight against ISIS in northern Syria could be weakened due to the escalation of the Turkey-PKK conflict. This concern has led to a certain degree of ambivalence between Turkey and the United States in their approaches to armed Kurdish groups.
In the long run, the differences between the two countries over how to fight ISIS will likely persist. Turkey still considers ISIS a product of the broader conflict exacerbated by the Assad regime, while the United States shows no sign of adopting a comprehensive Syria policy that addresses the regime. Washington and Ankara will therefore likely find it increasingly difficult to respond to the changing dynamics on the ground or to forge a common front. For example, who would control the proposed ISIS-free zone? Would the PYD be allowed to enter this zone if the opposition groups Turkey favors fail to control the area? In the absence of a regional agreement on the future of Syria, it will be critically important for the United States and Turkey to develop a common strategy. We realize that there is very little appetite among Obama administration officials in the last months of the administration to craft a broader Syria strategy, but the failure to do so will only exacerbate the humanitarian crisis and potentially strain the U.S.-Turkey relationship.
It has frequently been stated that Turkey and the United States have strategic convergence but tactical divergences on most of the issues in the Middle East. However, since the worsening of the crisis in Syria during the last two years, these tactical differences have started to have an impact on strategy. The reported use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime and the lack of U.S. retaliation became a turning point in the relationship. Although some other U.S. allies had similar problems with U.S. policy in the aftermath of the chemical-weapons attack, the fact that Turkey shares a border with Syria, and that it was feeling the pressure of the civil war more than any other country in the region, made Turkey's disappointment more acute.
With the siege of Kobani by ISIS forces in September 2014, the strategic differences between the United States and Turkey became even more pronounced. When the clashes between the PYD and ISIS broke out, Turkish policy makers found themselves in a serious dilemma. ISIS was considered a terrorist organization by the Turkish government, and Turkey had been the victim of ISIS attacks since March 2014, when ISIS members killed two Turkish security personnel in Nigde. When the clashes started in Kobani between ISIS and the PYD, Turkish hostages were held captive by ISIS in Iraq. The PYD was not a friend of Turkey either. Turkey considered the organization an offshoot of the PKK and was very sensitive to its policies in Syria. In fact, Ankara does not see the PYD as a genuinely Syrian political actor. Despite the gestures by Ankara at the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the PYD declined to meet Turkey's demands (distancing itself from the Assad regime and refusing to declare autonomous cantons inside Syria) to allow for a potential alliance. After that period, relations between Turkey and the PYD went sour, and Turkey started to consider the PYD a potential threat to the future of Syria.
However, despite these reservations about the PYD, Turkey helped prevent Kobani's fall to ISIS by allowing Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) forces to pass through its territory. Turkey also encouraged and facilitated Free Syrian Army rebel forces to come to the aid of Kobani and opened its doors to civilian refugees from the town.18 In the first few days of the clashes, more than 180,000 residents of Kobani and its surrounding towns sought refuge in Turkey, creating one of the region's fastest and largest refugee flows. Turkey even allowed hundreds of wounded PYD fighters to be treated in Turkish hospitals.19 Despite its support for Kobani, Turkey felt conflicted in dealing with the PYD. As Turkey saw it, clashes were taking place between two terrorist groups, both of which pose threats to Turkey's national security. More important, the PKK was trying to claim legitimacy in the eyes of the international community by presenting itself as a bulwark against ISIS. When the United States treated the PYD as distinctly different from the PKK and decided to provide military support,20 the Turkish-American disagreement about the PYD's political goals and standing created a crisis of confidence.
In addition to their disconnect over the PYD, Turkey and the United States have differed over the end goal in Syria. Turkey has long insisted on a comprehensive strategy on the Syrian civil war before committing militarily to the fight against ISIS. In Turkey's judgment, the Assad regime and the civil war as a whole created propitious conditions for the rise of ISIS. In fact, Ankara did not want the emergence of a grey zone that exports insecurity and threats to the neighboring countries. There needed to be a strategy to deal with both the Assad regime and ISIS. The United States, in contrast, focused on containing and rolling back ISIS by using local forces such as the PYD in keeping with its "no boots on the ground" approach.21 The air strikes on ISIS targets and the drone attacks in pursuit of ISIS leaders were considered a "remote" strategy for fighting the organization. However, the United States did not want to engage in any other kind of conflict in Syria. Although the Obama administration remained committed at the rhetorical level to ending the Assad regime, the often-cited worry that the regime's fall could create further chaos overrode other considerations. Turkey's priority, by contrast, has been to prevent the inflow of refugees and protect itself against spillover effects of the conflict, while at the same time supporting the Syrian opposition.
Both the United States and Turkey, however, have emphasized convergences and cooperation with regard to the broad picture in Syria in an effort to contain the simmering crisis in the bilateral relationship. Despite statements by some U.S. officials suggesting that the Assad regime provided stability, the United States and Turkey have agreed that the Assad regime created a breeding ground for terrorist networks, and that the country has turned into a "magnet for terrorism." Similarly, both countries recognize ISIS as a terrorist organization and a threat to regional and international security. Agreement also exists on the need to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces; however, the program has not made much headway. Still, despite claims to the contrary, Turkey has been fighting aggressively against ISIS for more than a year, and ISIS targeted Turkish security forces as early as March 2015. Turkey has appeared reluctant precisely because it has tried to avoid being dragged into the fighting inside Syria and has advocated for a bolder approach by the anti-ISIS coalition.
The bombings in Diyarbakir and Suruc demonstrated that ISIS considered Turkey a direct threat to its goals and decided to undertake terrorist actions inside Turkish territory. Suruc served as a tipping point for Turkey to assume a more active role in the coalition's fight against ISIS. The first step of this new strategy included destroying ISIS targets close to the Turkish border through airstrikes, which could help create a de facto safe zone in northern Syria.
In addition to ISIS attacks in Turkey against Turkish citizens, a strong incentive for Turkey to be more active in Syria was to block the PYD's efforts to modify the region's demographic realities at the expense of the Turkmen and Arab populations. Since fighting broke out in Kobani last fall, the PYD's strategy has been to present itself as a reliable, effective and secular fighting force against ISIS in order to garner international support and legitimacy. This strategy has been largely successful; the Western media has been fascinated by the rise of the "Kurds," failing to recognize that the PYD does not represent all Syrian Kurds and that its claim of independence from the PKK was at best a public-relations effort. The fresh "opportunities" in Syrian territory were a boon to the PKK's ambition to emerge as a legitimate Pan-Kurdish organization throughout the region. The PKK felt emboldened by the prospect of international legitimacy, and this strengthened its hand in the resolution process against the Turkish government, which seeks a peaceful settlement of the Kurdish issue.
Some American commentators interpreted Turkey's actions as a cynical ploy to use the ISIS fight as a cover for its attacks on the PKK.22 They even called on the Obama administration to reduce cooperation with Turkey, including the sharing of intelligence, which is crucial in the fight against ISIS.23 This fight has necessitated serious engagement and active cooperation among Turkey, the United States and the European allies on intelligence related to foreign fighters and ISIS's financial networks. The U.S. administration has adopted a short-term solution by forming an international coalition to conduct airstrikes against ISIS, expecting local actors to reclaim territory. Based on this approach, the United States began its cooperation with the Syrian PKK affiliate, the PYD, adding a new dimension to the deepening disagreement between Turkey and the United States.
A PKK OPPORTUNITY
Turkey's view of the Syrian conflict and the PYD's actions cannot be divorced from the Kurdish issue and the dynamics of the search for a political resolution of the decades-old conflict. Although Turkey considers the PYD the Syrian extension of the PKK, Ankara recognized the realities on the ground from the very beginning and treated the PYD as a rational actor with which it could cooperate.24 Turkey asked the PYD to distance itself from the Assad regime, to fight alongside the moderate opposition, and to avoid creating autonomous zones that would compromise Syria's territory and integrity and further complicate an eventual political solution.25 While the PYD consistently refused to comply with these conditions, it did not openly threaten NATO-member Turkey. With the rise of ISIS and its attacks in Kobani, many in the West regarded the PYD as an ally on the ground. As a result, despite the deterioration of the situation in Iraq, the priority for the international coalition became Kobani.
For many observers, a victory against ISIS in Kobani was important, not necessarily for strategic reasons, but for symbolic ones. The U.S. priority to fight ISIS empowered and provided legitimacy for the PYD. The PYD, in turn, started to expand its territorial gains against ISIS with the air support of the international coalition.26 However, the reports of the PYD's attempt to demographically homogenize the territories in Tal Abyad by forcibly expelling Turkmens and Arabs, along with its efforts to unite its three cantons, resulted in increasing Turkish concern about the PYD's ambitions.27 Ankara saw this as part of a broader PKK strategy to create an autonomous zone for itself in Syria, while the prospect of gaining international legitimacy through its Syrian affiliate soured the PKK on the peace deal with Turkey. The recent escalation in PKK violence demonstrates a lack of willingness on the part of the leadership to move forward with the peace process.
Taking advantage of the civil war, the PKK sought to lengthen its reach and mobilize Kurdish youth for its ambitions inside Syria rather than to take serious steps toward completing the resolution process by exiting Turkey and committing to full disarmament. The October 2014 events caused 52 deaths, largely a result of the calls of the PKK and the HDP to protest the government's refusal to help the PYD in Kobani. This was one of the bloodiest events in recent years inside Turkey. The PKK, through its affiliated youth branches, attacked government buildings and offices and tried to import the Syrian conflict into Turkey by attacking the more conservative segments of Kurdish society. Since the crisis in Kobani, the resolution process has slowed down, and public support has declined sharply. The PKK has been increasingly reluctant to abide by its commitments. In fact, the leadership of the Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK) had already declared an end to the ceasefire on July 11, 2015, nine days prior to the Suruc bombing. This statement obviously challenged the resolution process and has complicated the situation on the Syria-Turkey border.
In addition to increasing PKK activity in Turkey, two recent developments on the Turkish-Syrian border have forced Ankara to adapt to these changing circumstances by revising its counterterrorism doctrine. First, the PYD's victory in Tal Abyad precipitated yet another refugee flow into Turkey amid accusations of ethnic cleansing by the PYD forces. Second, ISIS began to attack Azez, a town controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). It was obvious that a possible victory by ISIS in this city would lead to another major refugee flow. Following the summary executions of Turkish security personnel by the PKK and the attack in Suruc, Turkey decided to adopt a more pre-emptive strategy against all terrorist groups operating alongside its borders. While Turkey is not targeting the PYD in Syria, its most recent deal with the United States in part may help to create an ISIS-free zone that would limit the territorial expansion of ISIS and the PYD at the same time. This would also limit the growth of conflict in this region and stop the flow of refugees. By ensuring that the PYD's reach remains limited and ISIS is pushed away from its border, Turkey is also setting out to contain the PKK's regional ambitions and confront ISIS more aggressively. If the creation of an undeclared safe zone succeeds through U.S.-Turkey cooperation, further refugee inflows could be prevented, and some refugees might be repatriated under the protection of the moderate opposition forces, in addition to the strategic considerations discussed above.
It is often argued that Turkey is opposed to Kurdish national ambitions as a result of its inherent "Kurdish allergy," but this is an overly simplistic view. Turkey has strong relations with the KRG, which poses no threat to Turkey. Cooperation between the two is comprehensive and exemplary in many ways, given regional dynamics and national considerations. The PKK, in contrast, continues to threaten Turkey's sovereignty and refuses to disarm despite the historic progress achieved on the Kurdish issue through the resolution process. The PYD is taking advantage of the vacuum created by the civil war in Syria, while the PKK is using this opportunity to legitimize itself as a bulwark against ISIS terrorism. Turkey's approach toward the PYD might be significantly different if there were no threat from the PKK.
NEED FOR A BROADER STRATEGY
Despite the convergence of strategy between the United States and Turkey regarding ISIS's presence in northern Syria, the two allies have yet to forge a common strategy on how to deal with the civil war. The Iran nuclear deal may create an opportunity for a serious conversation over Syria, but it is not easy to imagine a drastic change in Iranian policy. Russia may be willing to prioritize ISIS, but it probably would not be amenable to regime change in Damascus, except perhaps in name only sometime in the distant future. That leaves two main backers of the Assad regime without any serious incentive to abandon it. The way to change their calculus is by altering the realities on the ground, such as establishing zones that the moderate opposition forces can reliably control and govern. Enlargement of such zones at the expense of ISIS and the Assad regime may be possible through closer cooperation between the United States and Turkey as well as other coalition partners. In order for this to happen, however, the allies have to work harder to forge a common view of the conflict and create a strategy for a political endgame — in addition to changing the dynamics on the ground in the moderate opposition's favor.
While the fight against ISIS is essential for the region's stability and Turkey's own security, the prospect of renewed fighting with the PKK and its ambition to carve out a portion of Syria are equally, if not more, important to Turkey. In prioritizing the fight against ISIS, the United States needs to avoid underestimating or downplaying Turkey's security concerns. The most recent realignment between Washington and Ankara is a promising step in the right direction on this front. A more forward-leaning Turkish posture in Syria is an advantage for the effectiveness of U.S. efforts, but these will remain limited if not followed up with a comprehensive Syria strategy. Otherwise, the most recent realignment between Turkey and the United States may prove to be temporary and create further complications in the bilateral relations of the two allies.
For many in Turkey, the decades-old belief that the United States intends to create an independent Kurdistan that would partition Turkey appears as if it is becoming a reality. This perception can inflict great damage on the U.S.-Turkey relationship. If a new Kurdish autonomous entity permanently establishes itself in northern Syria, Turkey may eventually work with it, as it has done with the KRG. However, if Turkey were threatened by such an entity or by the PKK's efforts to use it as its backyard, cooperation would be impossible, and Turkey could come into conflict with a U.S.-enabled entity in northern Syria. Prospects such as this make it imperative that the United States and Turkey bolster their efforts to create a common political understanding on Syria.
1 Karam Shaumali and Ceylan Yeginsu, "Turkey Says Suicide Bombing Kills at Least 30 in Suruc, Near Syria," New York Times, July 20, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/21/world/europe/suruc-turkey-syria-explosion.html.
2 Paul McCleary, "Pentagon: No, We Don't Actually Have U.S. Troops Fighting in Syria," Foreign Policy, September 16, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/16/pentagon-no-we-dont-actually-have-u-s-troops-fighting-in-syria/.
3 "Syria: Obama Authorizes Boots on Ground to Fight ISIS," Barbara Starr and Jeremy Diamond, CNN, October 30, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/30/politics/syria-troops-special-operations-forces/.
4 "Turkey Hits PYD Twice for Crossing Euphrates: PM," Hurriyet Daily News, October 27, 2015, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-hits-pyd-twice-for-crossing-euphrates-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=90385&NewsCatID=352.
5 Hasan Kirmizitas, "IŞİD, 'Süleyman Şah› tehdidini 15 Mart›ta Yapmış," Hurriyet, March 24, 2015, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/dunya/26066897.asp.
6 "Two Albanians, One Kosovan Arrested in Nigde Province," Daily Sabah, March 21, 2014, http://www.dailysabah.com/nation/2014/03/21/two-albanians-one-kosovan-arrested-in-nigde-attack.
7 Ceylan Yeginsu, "Militants Storm Turkish Consulate in Iraqi City, Taking 49 People as Hostages," New York Times, June 11, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/world/middleeast/militants-seize-turkish-consulate-staff-in-mosul.html?_r=0.
8 "Two Explosions Hit Kurdish Political Rally in Turkey," Guardian, June 5, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/05/two-explosions-kurdish-peoples-democratic-party-rally-turkey.
9 Gul Tuysuz and Jason Hanna, "Gunfire from ISIS Area in Syria Kills Turkish Soldier, Officials Say," CNN, August 18, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/23/middleeast/turkey-syria-isis-violence/.
10 Ceylan Yeginsu, "Elections Seem Likely in Turkey as ISIS Threat Rises," New York Times, August 18, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/19/world/europe/isis-video-urges-turks-to-revolt-against-their-president.html?_r=0.
11 Murat Yesiltas, "İç Savaşa Komşu Olmak: Türkiye'nin Sınır Güvenliği Siyaseti," SETA Foundation, August 2015, http://file.setav.org/Files/Pdf/20150827110513_sinir-guvenligi.pdf.
12 Liz Sly and Karen DeYoung, "Turkey Agrees to Allow U.S. Military to Use Its Base to Attack Islamic State," Washington Post, July 23, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/turkey-agrees-to-allow-us-military-to-use-its-base-to-attack-islamic-state/2015/07/23/317f23aa-3164-11e5-a879-213078d03dd3_story.html.
13 "U.S. and Turkey Discuss ISIS-Free Zone in Syria,"Al Jazeera, July 28, 2015, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/07/turkey-agree-create-ISIS-free-zone-syria-150728014436631.html.
14 Jamie Dettmer, "Kurdish Groups End Ceasefire with Turkey," Voice of America, July 13, 2015, http://www.voanews.com/content/kurdish-organizations-end-cease-fire-turkey/2859910.html.
15 Andrew Marszal, "Kurdish Militants Claim Revenge Killing of Two Turkish Police Officers," Telegraph, July 22, 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/11755018/Two-Turkish-police-officers-killed-close-to-Syria-border.html.
16 Brett McGurk (@Bret_McGurk), "We have strongly condemned the #PKK's terrorist attacks in #Turkey and we fully respect our ally turkey's right to self-defense.," Twitter, July 25, 2015, 6:31 p.m., https://twitter.com/brett_mcgurk/status/625070882621390848.
17 U.S. Department of State Special Briefing, Senior Administration Officials on Counter-ISISL Coalition Efforts, via teleconference, July 28, 2015, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/07/245403.html.
18 Mevlut Cavusoglu, "Who Will Help Turkey Help Kobani?," Guardian, October 20, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/20/turkey-kobani-syria-iraq.
19 "Wounded Kobani Fighters Taken to Turkish Frontier," World Bulletin, October 27, 2014, http://www.worldbulletin.net/turkey-syria-border/147129/wounded-kobani-fighters-taken-to-turkish-frontier.
20 "U.S. Airdrops Weapons and Supplies to Besieged Syrian Kurds in Kobani," Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2014, http://www.wsj.com/articles/us-airdrops-weapons-and-supplies-to-besieged-syrian-kurds-in-kobani-1413761080.
21 "Obama, Kerry: No U.S. Troops Will Be Sent into Combat Against ISIS in Iraq, Syria," CNN, September 17, 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/17/politics/obama-isis/.
22 Editorial Board, "Mr. Erdoğan's War Against the Kurds," New York Times, August 31, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/31/opinion/turkeys-war-of-distraction-on-kurds.html.
23 Eric S. Edelman, "America's Dangerous Bargain with Turkey," New York Times, August 27, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/27/opinion/americas-dangerous-bargain-with-turkey.html.
24 "Turkey and the U.S. Meet Halfway," Hurriyet Daily News, July 4, 2015, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-and-the-us-meet-halfway.aspx?PageID=238&NID=84960&NewsCatID=466.
25 Mustafa Akyol, "Exclusive: Davutoglu Says Turkey Seeks Democratic Syria," Al-Monitor, April 9, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/ahmet-davutoglu-interview-turkey-foreign-minister-kurds.html.
26 Lefteris Pitarakis, Simsek Berza, Susan Frasier, and Nedra Pickler, "Islamic State Group Loses Key Town on Turkish Border," New York Times, June 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/06/16/world/middleeast/ap-ml-islamic-state.html.
27 Deniz Zeyrek, "Ankara Warns PYD over Demographic Change in Northern Syria," Hurriyet Daily News, June 22, 2015, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ankara-warns-pyd-over-demographic-change-in-northern-syria.aspx?PageID=238&NID=84296&NewsCatID=510.