Behind Turkey's decision to allow a transit corridor
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Marv Gandall
2014-10-21 16:55:05 UTC
"Turkish officials had publicly opposed the opening of a corridor to allow weapons and fighters across its territory to support the militia in Kobani because it is loyal to the PKK, which Ankara has fought in a low-intensity war for three decades. Privately, Turkey told the Americans they were comfortable with the Iraqi Kurds loyal to their ally Massoud Barzani, the head of Iraq?s semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, playing a bigger role in Kobani?s defense.

"There was, however, one caveat. The Turkish government doesn?t want to see fighters linked to the PKK strengthened. Turkey is hoping that allowing Iraqi Kurdish fighters into Kobani will dilute PKK influence and put Iraqi Kurds in control of the battle and any reinforcements that will come from the West.?

This might be wishful Turkish thinking. If and when they do begin to fraternize, the PKK-linked fighters in Kobani, widely admired by Iraqi as well as Syrian and Turkish Kurds, may well exert more influence on Barzani?s peshmerga forces than the other way round.