Turkey is part of the U.S.-led international coalition that is confronting the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Syria and Iraq, but Ankara has refused to participate militarily, the Voice of America website reports today (October 16, 2014).
A major reason for Turkey's reluctance is that its regional priorities differ from those of the United States. Analysts say Washington's priority is Iraq, while Turkey's main goal is the downfall of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
Nowhere is Turkey's refusal to join the coalition more glaring than in the Syrian-Kurdish city of Kobani, where Kurdish fighters -- with the help of coalition airstrikes -- have been battling an Islamic State onslaught for the past several days.
Kurds in Turkey have pleaded with Ankara to intervene militarily to prevent the IS militants from capturing the city on the Syrian-Turkish border, and have staged protests that have turned violent. Analysts say Turkey has not tried to stop the Islamic State because of ties between Kobani's Syrian-Kurdish defenders and Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).