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Turkey: Caught Between Syria’s Kurds and a Hard Spot

Does Syria's situation threaten Turkey's tenuous reconciliation with its Kurdish minority? (Photo: Jonathan Lewis)

In a display of muscle-flexing, Turkish tanks this week carried out military exercises on the Syrian border, just a few kilometers away from towns that Syrian Kurds had seized from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

The seizure of the Kurdish towns sent alarm bells ringing in the Turkish capital. "It took a lot of people by surprise in Ankara. It is one of the toughest and serious issues in the last period of Turkish history," said Metehan Demir, a military expert and columnist for the Turkish daily Hürriyet.

"The capture of Kurdish towns in Syria is perceived by Kurdish groups in Turkey as the signal for [a] future autonomous Kurdish region on Turkey's border, which is seen as the start of [a] wider Kurdish state, including Iran, Iraq and Turkey," Demir added.

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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.

Turkey: Caught Between Syria’s Kurds and a Hard Spot

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