Skip to main content

Will Turkey put 'boots on the ground' in Syria?

The Turkish parliament is expected to vote Oct. 2 on whether to authorize a government request to allow the Turkish military to be engaged in Iraq and Syria.
Turkish security forces use tear gas to disperse Turkish Kurds near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border, near the southeastern town of Suruc, September 26, 2014. Islamic State fighters tightened their siege of the strategic town of Kobani on Syria's border with Turkey on Friday, pushing back Kurdish forces and sending at least two shells into Turkish territory, witnesses said. Several hundred unarmed protesters who had gathered on the Turkish side of the border in solidarity with th

When the Turkish parliament reconvenes Sept. 30 after a summer recess, the Turkish government is expected to submit authorization requests detailing Turkey's potential role in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. On Oct. 2, the parliament is expected to vote on the requests, which are likely to ask for authority to engage Turkish ground forces outside Turkey's borders. Separate authorization requests are expected for the Iraqi and Syrian theaters.

Although the Turkish opposition stands firmly against using ground forces outside the country's borders, the government appears to be arguing for a broad authorization in case there is a sudden strike against Turkey, while at the same time arguing that Turkey will mainly provide logistical and humanitarian support to the coalition. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan detailed Turkey’s plan on Sept. 27 while saying he was attempting to persuade the international community to establish a safe zone inside Syria along the Turkish border, a "no-fly" zone in Syria and military training for the Syrian opposition to bring about the end of the Syrian regime. Ankara still considers the main problem in Syria to be its long-lasting authoritarian government; top Turkish leaders think that once Syrian President Bashar al-Assad goes, all will be normalized in the country in a matter of time.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.