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article imageOp-Ed: Turkey ready to fight ISIS/ISIL

By Robert Weller     Sep 27, 2014 in World
Ankara - With even Russia offering to help, the biggest player near the battlefield is finally ready to intervene against Muslim terrorists. And it has a powerful Army.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Hurriyet Daily: “Related countries are now planning a ground operation.”
Turkey has NATO’s second-largest standing army.
Erdogan said, “We will protect our borders ourselves.” Islamic terrorists are near the Turkey border, seeking to take towns and cities in the area.
The New York Times, which earlier Saturday had said Turkey was reluctant to get involved, updated their story to say: "After intense lobbying by the Obama administration at the United Nations General Assembly last week, Turkey finally appears ready to take a more active role in the fight."
Many Arabs live in the country, as well as some Europeans, but its diverse population means it cannot be seen as a Western power.
A group of ISIS supporters attacked students of the group in Turkey, hitting them the nail-studded sticks, before police arrested most of them.
The situation is complicated and dangerous for Turkey. They fear arming Kurds opposed to Erdogan’s government, the president himself has strong opposition within his country, and 200,000 refugees have fled into Turkey from Syria and Iraq.
At the same time, the U.S. and NATO are pushing Ankara to perform a role that Western nations cannot.
The terrorists had held 49 Turkish diplomatic personnel from the Mosul, Iraq, consulate, releasing them only after 101 days.
More than 96 percent of Turks are Muslims, mostly Sunni. ISIS/ISIL is compromised mostly of Sunnis.
"There is a clear interest for Turkey to be involved in this, and we do anticipate that they will be working constructively with the broader international coalition to combat ISIL," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that Turkey has “absolutely pledged to be effective.”
U.S. military leaders have said it is unlikely ISIS can be stopped without ground forces. Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey has told the press.
No Western country is likely to be able fill that role. Neither is Russia, though it has acknowledged it could be a target of its own citizens fighting on behalf of ISIS. Turkey is best suited for the job, though Saudi Arabia and other countries could provide token forces as well as participate in airstrikes.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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