When Turkey announced it had decided to join the war against the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria, it seemed like a major turning point in the fight against the radical Islamist group. But the actions Ankara has taken in the week since its policy reversal raise serious questions about its true intentions.
Twin security operations, combining domestic sweeps with cross-border airstrikes, strongly suggest that the impetus behind the new policy has more to do with pushing back against Kurdish groups than against IS.
The government’s domestic anti-terrorist campaign has targeted Kurdish activists more than IS members. Similarly, the airstrikes, welcomed in the West as a needed shoring up of the anti-IS coalition, have been targeted more heavily against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish militia based in northern Iraq.