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Making (Non)Sense of Turkey's Policy on Kobane


Turkey is pursuing three goals in Syria: eliminating Bashar al-Asad, weakening the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The snag is that these three goals are incompatible, at least in the short term. But whereas the latter two goals are genuinely liked to Turkish national security interests, the first is not. Approaching the Syrian regime and Iran with pragmatism does not mean hurrying into ironclad alliances with unpalatable partners, nor does it mean abandoning principles. Arguably, diversifying from Sunni-only alliances can represent value added in a sectarianised Middle East.

Paper produced within the framework of the project Turkey, Europe and the World. See also "Opinion: Turkey's misguided Syria policy", in Deutsche Welle, 4 November 2014.

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