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  • The US government is forming an international coalition to combat the Islamic State, also

  • known as ISIS. Turkey recently joined that coalition, but they were initially very reluctant

  • to do so; something that doesn’t make a lot of sense at first glance. Turkey shares

  • a border with Syria and Iraq. Theyre presumably against ISIS’s extremist actions and beliefs,

  • and theyre somewhat friendly to US interests. So why were they so reluctant to join the

  • fight?

  • Well, there may have been multiple reasons. Initially, Turkey was reluctant to join out

  • of concern over the safety of their citizens. Until recently, ISIS was holding 49 Turkish

  • diplomats and security personnel hostage. Turkey listed the safety of these hostages

  • as their primary reason for not wanting to attack ISIS. The hostages have since been

  • released, but that doesn’t change the fact that hostage-taking and terrorist attacks

  • are legitimate concerns.

  • Turkey also has a long history with both Syria and Iraq; one that involves a lot of distrust

  • and conflict. For example, ISIS expanded into Syria during the Syrian Civil War, which is

  • being fought between rebel groups inside of Syria and the Syrian government led by Bashar

  • al-Assad. Some of those rebel groups were trained, funded and armed by Turkey, who wanted

  • to overthrow Assad’s government. Turkey may have been reluctant to join in against

  • ISIS, because eliminating them could potentially benefit Assad.

  • They may also have been reluctant, because of their financial relationship with ISIS.

  • It’s estimated that ISIS is smuggling $15 million dollars worth of oil a month through

  • Turkey. Some reports indicate that ISIS and the people theyre working with in Turkey,

  • aren’t really even trying to hide their activities. They may be building pipelines

  • in broad daylight. The implication is that Turkey could stop them, but isn’t - possibly

  • for financial gains.

  • Turkey also has cultural interests inside of ISIS territory. Namely, the Tomb of Suleyman

  • Shah, which is an important Turkish Cultural site and sovereign exclave of Turkey, that’s

  • currently surrounded by ISIS-controlled territory. Turkey may have been reluctant to enter the

  • fight out of concern over this site and the troops they have guarding it.

  • In addition to all of this, is the fact that Turkey - like a lot of countries in the region

  • - is suspicious of the United States to some degree, and thus was less than comfortable

  • with the idea of joining a US-run coalition. Turkey did eventually sign on, but to get

  • an idea for why other nations may never feel comfortable enough to do so, click here [point]

  • to watch our episode on the complicated relationship between The United States and Iran. New episodes

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The US government is forming an international coalition to combat the Islamic State, also

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Why Turkey Doesn't Want To Fight ISIS

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    Cheng-Hong Liu posted on 2014/12/09
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