Ambassador Serdar Kılıç’s Op-ed: "it's Not Just About Kobani" , 10.10.2014
It’s Not Only About Kobane…
By Serdar Kılıç, Turkish Ambassador to the U.S.
We strongly reject the groundless and unfair accusations on some of the US media outlets targeting Turkey in terms of the recent developments in Kobane. I wish things were as simple as they are presented but unfortunately they are not, and this “name and shame’ game should stop.
Turkey has already declared its willingness to give support to the international coalition against ISIL, which was demonstrated through the authorization granted by the Turkish Parliament to the Turkish Government for potential actions we may take on Syria and Iraq in the period ahead. The events in Kobane cannot be disassociated from the entirety of the Syrian conflict. Trying to read a conflict which has claimed over 200 thousand lives only through the developments in Kobane is not correct. As we have been emphasizing from the outset, we cannot achieve security and stability in Syria without addressing the Assad regime, which bears responsibility for the emergence and growth of the ISIL threat. Therefore, we should not view the ISIL and the regime separately during our efforts.
Turkey is already hosting over 1.5 million Syrians in its territory and has spent more than $3.5 billion. We have welcomed 190 thousand Kurds and other ethnicities from the Kobane region alone in just two days. We cannot shoulder another wave of people fleeing ISIL. This is why we deem vital to establish safe areas inside Syria protected by NFZ’s, for settling the Syrian displaced population safely back in Syria.
Despite the risks, Turkey through mobilizing its resources continues to maintain an open door policy for people coming to its borders, regardless of their ethnic identity. Humanitarian aid is also being sent to the Kobane region. Turkey also retaliated the threats and attacks from ISIL in conformity of its rules of engagement.
Friendly countries should not be selective in their sensitivities while reflecting upon the reactions of their public opinion. Turkey’s sensitivity is not exclusively limited to a certain region or group in Syria. After all it is us, Turkish people that are living here at the center of all of this, not thousands of miles away.
Published in USA Today on October 10, 2014