Why is the Islamic State treating Turkey as an ally?

The Islamic State is an unrecognized country bordered by Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and the Kurdish-controlled regions south of the Turkish border. The Islamic State is actively fighting the governments of Syria, Iraq, and the Kurds. However in Turkey, when the Islamic State bombed Ankara, they bombed the socialist, pro-Kurdish parties, who were protesting in opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his crypto-Islamist Justice and Development party.

While the rhetoric of the Islamic State’s leaders allows for no other countries to exist in the Muslim world, this is intelligent statecraft. The Islamic State is treating Turkey as a short-term ally, to gain its longer-term goal of secure territory.


Islamic State-October 2015

Barack Obama’s apologists never like to say it, but the Islamic State does have non-state allies in the region. The miscellaneous Syrian Rebels (shown in green on the map above) are the folks we’re arming. They share a common enemy with the Islamic state (shown in black on the map): The Syrian state (in light red).

That’s the Islamic State’s western front. They also have a northern front with the Kurds (in yellow). Should a pro-Kurdish government take power in Turkey (the light gray area on the north edge of the map), then the Kurdish rear would be secured, making it easier for them to fight the Islamic State.

So what we are seeing with the Ankara bombings (which resulted in a fresh majority for Erdogan’s party a month later), is that the Islamic state is propping up the government of one of its neighbors in order weaken one of its immediate military threats. While the Islamic State surely will eventually go to war with Turkey, should it continue to gain territory, for now the Islamic State is treating as an ally Turkey under President Erdogan and his party.

What we must remember is that Turkey (a NATO member) has long had to deal with Kurdish-Communist terrorists. Much like how the Soviet Union armed and backed Sinn Fein-IRA for their campaign of terror against NATO ally the United Kingdom, the Soviets backed the Kurdish Worker’s Party and their terrorist allies, to make trouble for Turkey. So Turkey has opposed these Communist terrorists for a long time.

Further, the Islamic State has no use for socialists. The ‘Arab Spring’ has taken out most of the Arab National Socialist governments that were left after we took down Saddam Hussein. Rump Syria is one, being eroded by the Islamic State. Fatah wants to make one, but it lost half its ‘territory’ to Hamas.

What remains to be seen is whether President Ergodan will take the Islamic State up on this, and refrain from escalating incursions into ‘Daesh’ territory. Erdogan has pledged to go after domestic Islamic State allies after the bombings, but if Erodgan goes around cleaning up internal terrorist threats, then the Kurds will also have their hands full, and that’s mission accomplished for the Islamic State.