My enemy’s enemy – Turkey’s stance on Islamic State Cover Image

My enemy’s enemy – Turkey’s stance on Islamic State
My enemy’s enemy – Turkey’s stance on Islamic State

Author(s): Mateusz R. Chudziak
Subject(s): International relations/trade, Security and defense, Military policy
Published by: OSW Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich im. Marka Karpia
Keywords: Turkey; Islamic State; ISIS
Summary/Abstract: In the context of the civil war in Syria, Turkey has been accused of intense co-operation with Islamic State. The accusations have been coming for some time from the West, and also from the Turkish opposition and the Kurds. The Russian government has also joined in the accusations over the past few months. According to the Kremlin’s narrative, Turkey allegedly not only supports this organisation but is also engaged in trading oil with it ‘on an industrial scale’. Ankara, which has categorically denied these reports, has undoubtedly displayed great ambivalence in its attitude towards Islamic State. Accusations of systemic co-operation with radical militants in Syria and Iraq are difficult to confirm. The radicals themselves pose a serious threat to Turkey’s security. The terrorist attacks in Turkey are suspected to have seriously affected its internal stability and international reputation of being a safe country (especially the Istanbul attack on 12 January 2016). The internal characteristics of the Syrian conflict and the engagement of external forces make it difficult to verify the reports on extensive and coordinated co-operation between Ankara and Islamic State. All parties to this conflict receive external support, and the situation in Syria itself is changing. However, this does not change the fact that Turkey has for a long time tactically benefited from the existence and operation of Islamic State, given that its priorities include ending Bashar al-Assad’s regime and preventing a Kurdish autonomous region being established in Syria. Yet, its ambivalent stance on the ‘enemy of its enemy’ poses a serious risk to both Turkey’s internal stability and its international reputation.

  • Page Count: 7
  • Publication Year: 2016
  • Language: English