Turkey’s president steps up criticism of U.S. airdrops to aid Kuridish fighters in Syria

The Washington Post reports: Turkey’s president sharpened criticism of U.S. airdrops to aid Syrian Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State, but promised on Thursday that Kurdish reinforcements would soon arrive in the embattled border town of Kobane.

The dual messages from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reflect the complicated political calculations for Turkey as part of the U.S.-led coalition seeking to cripple the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey is wary of the Syrian Kurds defending Kobane — just miles from the Turkish border — because of their ties to a Kurdish faction in Turkey that has waged a three-decade insurgency for greater rights. The U.S. airdrops of weapons and ammunition to Kobane is seen by Turkey as indirectly empowering the Turkish Kurdish rebels.

But NATO-member Turkey also is nervous that Kobane could fall to the Islamic State, which would gain another foothold along the Turkish border and possibly expand attacks on Turkish forces and targets. [Continue reading…]

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