Turkey follows Saudi Arabia in move to carve up Syria

The Turkish government sought a mandate from Parliament on Tuesday to expand cross-border military operations into Iraq and Syria, signaling that it will play a more active role in a United States-led international military campaign to combat Islamic State militants. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/world/europe/turkey-makes-bid-to-expand-military-role.html?ref=world
Parliament will vote this week on a comprehensive motion that would authorize Turkish troops to make incursions into Syria and Iraq, and allow foreign military forces to use Turkish military bases, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
“We have worked out and prepared a document uniting two separate motions on Iraq and Syria, enabling all necessary measures at one time, so as to respond to all threats and risks,” Mr. Arinc said. The new measure is an extension of the current law, which will expire in a matter of days.
Until now, Turkey, a NATO member that shares a 560-mile border with Syria, has hesitated to take an active military role at the front lines of the battle against the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS. The government fears strengthening its staunch opponent, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, as well as Kurdish separatists in southeastern Turkey.
It was not immediately clear whether Turkey would send in ground troops or participate in airstrikes over Syria.
Although Parliament is expected to approve the new mandate, the government is unlikely to authorize troops on the ground without an internationally backed no-fly zone in northern Syria, something that Washington is said to be considering.
On Monday, Turkey deployed tanks and armored vehicles to its border with Syria as the Islamic State intensified its assault on Kurdish militants fighting to defend Kobani, a Syrian border town. Turkey has faced a huge influx of Kurdish refugees since the Islamic State
besieged Kobani last week. More than 160,000 Kurdish refugees have crossed the border, the semiofficial Anadolu News Agency reported.
Turkey hardened its stance against the extremist Sunni militants after the Sept. 20 release of 46 of its citizens who had been seized in June by the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq.
In a recent interview with the Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would no longer be a bystander in the campaign against the Islamic State and indicated that his country was ready to take part in United States-led military operations against the militant group.

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