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Turkey, The Kurds And ISIS47:34
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Turkey joins the fight against ISIS, the Islamic State. We’ll look at the politics and strategic implications for the US and the region.

Turkish police officers carry the coffin of Turkish police special operations officer Sahin Polat Aydin, one of the four officers killed Monday in a landmine attack attributed to militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in Silopi, southeastern Turkey, during a ceremony in Ankara, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (AP)
Turkish police officers carry the coffin of Turkish police special operations officer Sahin Polat Aydin, one of the four officers killed Monday in a landmine attack attributed to militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in Silopi, southeastern Turkey, during a ceremony in Ankara, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (AP)

Turkey sits right on top of the zone of crisis inhabited now by ISIS, the Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq. And Turkey has hot politics aplenty at home, within its own borders. For a long time, Turkey – a NATO member – let ISIS through its borders and kept its home politics buttoned up. Now, Turkey has joined the fight against ISIS, opened a key airbase to US fighter jets, and unleashed arrests and attacks on domestic challengers in its own version of “war on terror.” This week, explosion and gunfire across the country. This hour On Point: Turkey, the US, and the hot politics of fighting the Islamic State.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Deborah Amos, Middle East correspondent for NPR News. Author of: “Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East." (@deborahamos)

Omer Taspinar, senior fellow at the Brookings Instution. Professor at the National War College and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. (@otaspinar)

Soli Ozel, lecturer at Kadir Has University in Istanbul and fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin. Contributor to Gazete Haberturk. (@soliozel2)

Robert Ford, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute. Former US Ambassador to Syria and deputy ambassador to Iraq, among many other diplomatic posts. (@fordrs58)

From Tom’s Reading List

BBC News: Turkey attacks: Deadly violence in Istanbul and Sirnak — "Six members of the security forces have been killed in a series of attacks in Turkey amid rising tension between the government and Kurdish militants. In south-eastern Sirnak province, four police officers were killed by a roadside bomb and a soldier died when gunmen fired on a military helicopter. In Istanbul, a police officer was killed in clashes after a car bombing."

NPR News: U.S. Consulate Targeted As Violent Attacks Sweep Across Turkey — "Kurdish activists in Turkey have, for a long time, accused the government of President Erdogan of supporting Islamic State against Kurdish militia fighters in Syria. And they're skeptical about Turkey's stepping up its campaign against the Islamic State. They believe it's a screen, a cover, if you like, for increasing attacks on Kurdish militant groups in Iraq and in Turkey."

New York Times: Inside Syria: Kurds Roll Back ISIS, but Alliances Are Strained -- "Until last month, Turkey had resisted calls to do more to support the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, mindful that it might further Kurdish ambitions to eventually carve out an independent state. The Kurds, who number roughly 30 million and are spread out over Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, have been described as the world’s largest ethnic group without a homeland."

This program aired on August 12, 2015.

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