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Turkey Risks Kurdish War on Two Fronts as Army Advances in Syria

  • Crackdown on Kurd fighters may only fuel their statehood dream
  • U.S. wants Turkey to focus its firepower on Islamic State
In this Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 file photo, Turkish army tanks and armored personnel carriers move toward the Syrian border, in Karkamis, Turkey.
Photographer: Halit Onur Sandal/AP Photo

Mustafa Denktas had twin sons. One of them, a Kurdish militant, was killed fighting the Turkish army in 2012. Denktas was still in mourning when news arrived three weeks later that the other son had met the same fate.

Back then Turkey’s war with separatist Kurds, however bloody and protracted, was essentially a domestic issue. Now it’s an international conflict. When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent his army into Syria last month, he wasn’t just striking a blow against Islamic State: a second goal was to stop Kurds from creating a de facto state.