The United States officials have suggested Turkey to step up its efforts to stop jihadists from crossing its borders and entering Syria. However, these NATO allies have difference of opinion on the role of Kurdish militants fighting IS or Islamic State. Turkey is an unwilling partner of the coalition being built by retired General John Allen, the U.S. President Barack Obama appointee, to fight and contain the Islamic militants. It demands ouster of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and fears any territorial victory by Kurdish militants may fuel separatists’ tendencies in its own Kurds. It is perturbed by the territorial gains achieved by the U.S. backed Syrian Kurdish PYD forces in Syria near Turkish borders.

The head of Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs commission, Ahmet Berat Conkar, stressed the need to understand the Turkey’s view points. He accorded priorities to the protection of displaced Turkmen Syrians, and prevention of fresh influx of refugees into Turkey. Conkar, who was not present during the talks, opined that Turkey considered PYD as a terrorist outfit as long as it had links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). PKK is a militant outfit that has been fighting insurgency against Turkey for the last three decades. And here lies the point of contention between Turkey and the U.S.

The U.S. supported Kurds’ actions terming them as essential, and demanded Turkey to step up security along its borders to prevent fighters and supplies reaching Islamic State. Turkey has often been criticized by western powers for its inability to prevent foreign fighters from crossing over its borders and joining IS. On the other hand, Turkey has been critical of the inability of the intelligence agencies of the Western countries from preventing their nationals becoming radicalized and crossing over to Turkey. Meanwhile, it has sent additional troops and equipments to various parts of its borders with Syria in view of the intensified fighting in the north.

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