A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kobanê on the Brink; Will Turkey Continue to Stand Aside?

The ISIS siege of the border town of Kobanê has intensified in recent days as the world quite literally watches from just over the Turkish border. Kurds within Turkey have been demonstrating, demanding at a minimum that Turkis Kurds be allowed to enter Syria to fight ISIS if the Turkish Army will not intervene. Some of the demonstrations have turned violent, leading to curfews in five provinces and a number of dead.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdoğan has said, during a visit to a refugee camp across the order in Gaziantep, that Kobanê is about to fall, and that airstrikes alone will be insufficient to save it,  but continues to stop short of Turkish military action, instead continuing to push for a Western no-fly zone over northern Syria, which would essentially have more effect against the Asad regime.

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan has meanwhile set a deadline of October 15 for Turkey to act, or he will declare an end to the sputtering peace efforts between the PKK and Ankara. There are reports that Syrian jets bombed  Kobanê but were forced to turn back by Turkish missile fire.

Criticism of Turkey's Hamlet-like behavior is increasing, as ISIS prepares to take a major town (pre-war population over 40,000) amid widespread predictions of a massacre, literally under the eyes of  major NATO Army.

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