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Email from Christiane Amanpour on Turkey and ISIS

October 8th, 2014
11:40 AM ET

"Clearly a lot of jockeying and hard bargaining going on re Turkey entering the fight.

"You may have seen what the PM told me about their red lines: No-fly zone and safe haven … think U.S. and allied no-fly zone over Kurds in Northern Iraq and Shiites in Southern Iraq from 1991-2003!"

What she’s referencing: On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Christiane that his country was willing to join the fight against ISIS in Syria, even put boots on the ground, but only “if others do their part.”

“We want to have a no-fly zone,” he said. “We want to have a safe haven on our border. Otherwise, all these burdens will continue to go on the shoulder of Turkey and other neighboring countries.”

"The administration source’s so called “de-facto” no-fly zone over Kobani is localized and temporary at best. But the Turks want a much more permanent zone, since they have 1.6 million refugees from Assad war and hundreds of thousands coming from Kobani.

"They tell me until Assad goes, they’ll need those no-flys … just like in Iraq until Saddam went."

What she’s referencing: A U.S. Administration Official told CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta that there is already a de-facto no-fly zone over eastern Syria, so from the American point of view, the Turks’ demands for a no-fly zone over Turkey does not pass muster.

"Hence Turkey’s second condition: They’ll only send their ground forces into the fight – the only plausible ground forces right now – if strategy shifts to topple Assad too."

What she’s referencing: Turkey has long wanted to see the ouster of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, and Prime Minister Davutoglu told Christiane that America must go after Assad, not just ISIS, in Syria.

"We said chemical weapons are the red line. He used chemical weapons. What happened to him?"

"We didn't do anything."

"And now, because of these crimes, there was no reaction, these radical organizations - I mean ISIS - misused this atmosphere and told these people the international community doesn't defend you. Nobody defends you. Only I can defend you by my own means. This was the source of ISIS."

"P.S. – goes without saying that if TURKEY is attacked in any shape or form, they will defend themselves by all means necessary."

What she’s referencing: Prime Minister Davutoglu made clear in their interview that any attacks on Turkey would be a game-changer; or any attack on “Turkish territory” inside Syria. A national tomb dating back to the Ottoman Empire is guarded by Turkish special forces inside Syria. If they are attacked or taken hostage by ISIS, that too would be a game-changer.

“If there is there any threat against our national security, we will take all the measures – all the measures,” he said.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Syria • Turkey
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