Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Turkey is avoiding conflict with ISIS even as the USA is willing to fight them:
When the United States asked Turkey to join a coalition to fight the Islamic State, Turkey answered with a resounding no, citing concern over the lives of 49 hostages the hardline group took in June from Turkey’s consulate in northern Iraq.

But on Sunday the hostages were mysteriously freed, unharmed, after over three months in captivity -- and Ankara has not changed its stance on joining the U.S.-led coalition, despite their homecoming. As the United States, along with allies that include several Arab countries, strikes parts of Syria for the first time, Turkey is shying away from concrete action against the Islamic State, prompting rumors as well as concern among lawmakers, experts and even relatives of the released hostages.

“Here is the test for Turkey,” Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations tweeted on Sunday. “With the hostages freed, will Ankara be an active/overt member of the anti-ISIS coalition?”

The release of the hostages, all but three of whom are Turks, was met with relief and joy. The hostages included several young children, the Turkish consul general, and three Iraqis who worked at the consulate. Family members of the hostages were terrified they might meet the same grim fate as other hostages who have been murdered by the Islamic State. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government have refused to explain how the hostage release was negotiated, and released hostages were instructed not to speak to press.

“This is a diplomatic success,” Erdogan said at a press conference on Sunday. “The result of a political bargain.”

Rumors now abound about how Turkey secured the hostages’ release and their safe passage home. Some critics have wondered whether the hostage release was related to Turkey's refusal to join the anti-ISIS alliance, or if the hardline group received something in return for the hostages. Hurriyet Daily News reported that a Syrian rebel group coordinating with Turkey released 50 members of the Islamic State back to the group as part of an exchange for the hostages.
Does this suggest Turkey's in cahoots with IS? We can't rule it out. Something is definitely fishy about the release of these particular hostages alright.

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