Turkey mulls ‘buffer zone’ on southern border

Turkish soldiers patrol on the Turkish-Syrian border in Ceylanpinar, southern Sanliurfa province November 11, 2012.

Turkish soldiers patrol on the Turkish-Syrian border in Ceylanpinar, southern Sanliurfa province November 11, 2012.

The Turkish military is looking into the possibility of establishing a “buffer zone” on its southern border, where it faces a threat from militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Turkish media cited President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying, Reuters reported on Monday.

Ankara would weigh up the plans and decide whether such a move was necessary, Turkish television stations quoted Erdogan as telling reporters on his plane as he returned from an official visit to Qatar.

A presidency official confirmed he had made such remarks but did not specify where along the border the zone might be established and gave no further details, Reuters said.

Turkey has come under fire by some critics for indirectly encouraging the formation of ISIS because of its support of Islamist opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and its loose control of its borders.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been touring the Middle East to try to secure backing for U.S. efforts to build a coalition to fight ISIS militants who have grabbed territory in Syria and Iraq.

However, a Turkish government official told AFP on Thursday Ankara would refuse to allow a U.S.-led coalition to attack militants in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor would it take part in combat operations against militants.

 
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