A strong case can be made for engagement with Turkey, which sources two of ISIL’s most important drivers, its economic engine and its recruiting. Turkey is the center of ISIL’s smuggling operation that produces revenues of $1-3 million a day from sales of black market oil! This money fuels ISIL’s military operations, pays its combatants, supplies its stores. Without it, ISIL would be ineffective in the field.
Turkey is also the center of ISIL’s recruiting: the New York Times identifies a neighborhood in Ankara, Hacibayram, as supplying a 1000 men a week. Disrupt this chain and ISIL is unable to expand.
Take away these two pillars, revenue and recruiting; and what’s left? Strategically, Turkey is clearly more important than Syria–or Assad–and without the hypocrisy evident in US policyid if an alliance with Syria is established.
Moreover, Turkey (since 1952) is a member of NATO! Why is the US building a Western and regional alliance but failing to pressure Turkey, which cites hostages for own its reticence–when it could use its blind eye to black market smuggling as leverage on ISIL for the hostages release? Let ISIL make the call: return the 49 or lose a million or more dollars every day!
For efficiency, effectiveness, and expediency, Turkey has far more strategic impact engagement with ISIL than Syria or the Saudis. The original Times article dissembles a case for a “deal with Assad” which would only send matters of US credibility to a new low. The question about Turkey is why there has been no follow through.