NATO Backs Turkey on Islamic State, Some Allies Urge Peace with Kurds

NATO meeting to discuss terrorists attacks in Turkey, July 28, 2015NATO gave Turkey its full political support in fighting militants in Syria and Iraq at an emergency meeting on Tuesday but several nations urged Ankara not to undermine the Kurdish peace process by using excessive military force.

Following a 90-minute meeting in Brussels, Turkey won the backing it sought for stepping up its role in the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State with air strikes….

Some European nations worry that [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is using the opportunity to bomb Kurdish groups he brands a threat to the integrity of the Turkish state but which enjoy some sympathy in the West.

According to a NATO official present at the meeting, several nations called for “a proportionate use of military force” in the action against Kurdish militants.

European allies, who need Turkey’s help to combat jihadi fighters returning to Europe, said Turkey’s decision to hit Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camps in Iraq at the weekend was justified. But they made it clear at the same time they do not want Erdogan to abandon several years of a domestic peace process which they supported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a telephone call on Sunday to respect the principle of proportionality and not to give up on the Kurdish peace process.

“Reconciliation should continue,” the Netherlands’ ambassador to NATO, Marjanne de Kwaasteniet, said on Twitter….

The United States, the dominant power in the alliance, has made some concessions by pledging to work with Turkey to create a safe zone inside Syria for displaced persons from the civil war that should relieve some of the refugee pressure on Ankara.

Erdogan said the initiative should facilitate the return of some 1.7 million Syrian refugees from Turkey.

Turkey and the United States both outlined plans for the safe zone at the meeting, but not in any detail, officials said.

Image: NATO meeting to discuss terrorists attacks in Turkey, July 28, 2015 (photo: NATO)