Turkey yields to US pressure over Kobani
Turkey has yielded to US calls on the Turkish government to allow Kurdish militants to enter Syria, which is considered by experts to be a blow to Turkey's image both in terms of its influence in a US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) and in future developments in the region, Today's Zaman reported.
The reversal comes in spite of the fact that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had continually refused to allow Kurdish militants from Iraq to cross into Kobani to fight against IS and coincided with reports saying the US had informed Turkey of airdrops of weapons and aid to Democratic Union Party (PYD) fighters resisting the IS advance in the town of Kobani in Syria.
For a long time the US has pushed the Turkish government to open a corridor for Kurdish peshmerga fighters to reach Kobani to help the local Kurdish militants' resistance against IS. However, the Turkish government had refused the US requests on the grounds that supplying arms to Kurdish elements in Kobani and sending extra Kurdish fighters would have negative consequences for Turkey in the long run.
The shift on the part of the Turkish government is considered by many to be the collapse of Turkey's approach to the developments in Kobani and the Kurdish militants. The US made a number of statements emphasizing that it had simply informed Turkey about its intentions to supply arms to the militants rather than ask for permission, deepening the damage to Turkey's prestige.
In the statements, the US said tackling IS is its priority, while the Turkish government has never put the elimination of IS among its priorities, marking a deep division of opinion between the two countries regarding IS's advance on Kobani.
With timing that was unfortunate for Turkey, the deputy secretary-general of the presidency, İbrahim Kalın, penned an article in The Wall Street Journal explaining Turkey's objections to providing support or weapons to Kurdish fighters in Kobani, the same day the US dropped weapons and aid the PYD and coincident with Turkey being forced to create a corridor for Kurdish militants traveling to Kobani.
Having yielded to US pressure to open the border to Kurdish militants, Turkey has allowed about 200 peshmerga fighters to cross into Syria from its territory, Erdoğan announced on Thursday.