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Turkey-IS rivalry and Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Friday, July 31
Our neighbour Turkey has got actively involved in the combat against the terrorist Islamist group, the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Some analysts in Georgia believe that the large-scaled involvement of Turkey in the offensives against IS will increase terrorist threats for the whole region.

An explosion in a Turkish town that claimed 32 lives and caused the death of a soldier at Turkey-Syria border prompted Turkey to make a decision over its role in the international threat.

After the fatal attack, it bombed the area taken by the IS, as well as a base of Kurdish separatists in the north of Iraq.

Anti-terrorist operations are ongoing in 34 provinces of Turkey through which 1,050 individuals have been detained.

The United States is holding negotiations with Turkey over the future plans in the fight against the IS. It is very likely that the United States will be against the bombing of the Kurds, as they, unlike the Iraq’s government, are engaging IS very effectively.

The Kurds, for their part, accuse Turkey of using the IS threat as an excuse for attacking them, as Turkey and Kurds have historically suffered from mutually hostile relations. Turkey is also not on good terms with the current Syrian leadership.

Georgia’s Minister of Defense Tina Khidasheli states that the ongoing developments among Turkey and IS do not pose risks for Georgia, as she does not have any information concerning the threats.

The newly appointed head of the Security Service Vakhtang Gomelauri stresses that the government and his body will be mainly focused on the terrorism prevention and suspension of the flow of youngsters from Georgia’s Muslim-inhabited Pankisi Gorge to join IS.

However, unlike the officials, military analyst Irakli Aladashvili says that the current situation creates vivid threats for Georgia.

“Up to now, Turkey, as a buffer zone, shielded us from the terrorists, but now it is involved in the war and Georgia has become a frontline country. There is a risk that IS will reach the South Caucasus,” he says, noting that the involvement in the offensives will increase threat of terrorist acts on the territory of Turkey.

Fellow analyst Tornike Sharashenidze says that the Turkey’s involvement in the war will hasten the end of the IS, as Turkey has a powerful army, equipment and an ability to ask for NATO assistance.

Statements claiming that we are safe from terrorist attacks might be considered to simply be a product of political rhetoric, as in the modern world no state can claim to be fully secure against political violence.

It is also obvious that the developments in Turkey will influence Georgia, either directly or indirectly. If we are safe from terrorist attacks, there are thousands of Georgians who live and work in Turkey. Turkey is our close ally in different fields, trade and economics amongst them.