Editions : July-September 2016

JOURNAL | GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES By: Devina Heriyanto and Anak Agung Banyu Perwita

The longstanding chaos in Syria and Iraq took a graver turn with the emergence of the Islamic State (IS). Following a request from the Iraqi government to help counter the terrorist movement, an international coalition was formed and led by the United States. In July 2015, Turkey announced its active military participation in the coalition, in self-defense against IS. However, it has been reported that Turkey has targeted not only IS but also the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), based in Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. This essay examines how Turkey uses its alliance with the United States in the framework of the international coalition against IS to justify its military operations, including airstrikes, against the PKK.

Global coalition against IS

In the midst of the Syrian civil war, the Islamic State emerged as a key actor. The group can be traced back to Al Qaeda in Iraq, but has developed into something much more than its predecessor. Different from other extremist organizations that focus on spreading terror and launching small attacks, IS has pursued something bigger: seizing and holding territory to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region of Syria and Iraq.

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