In Major Shift, Turkey Allows Reinforcements for Kurds Battling ISIS

The Turkish government swallows hard.


Turkey made a significant policy shift Monday when it announced it would allow Kurdish Peshmerga fighters from northern Iraq to travel through the Turkish territory to reinforce the besieged Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria.

The announcement was all the more striking, because earlier this month Turkey's President equated the Kurdish militants defending Kobani to the ISIS fighters who were laying siege to the town. Both the Kurdish and ISIS militants are, in the words of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "terrorists."

"Turkey feels like it has fallen into the subway tracks and is surrounded by live rails," said Hugh Pope, senior Turkey analyst with the International Crisis Group, a conflict mediation organization. "It is very difficult for Turkey to make any choice."