Though Turkey was loudly touted by the Obama Administration as a key ally added to their anti-ISIS coalition, so far the nation has not agreed to take any military role in the war, and indeed, had previously ruled such a role out over concern about hostages.
With the hostages freed, Turkish officials are now opening up to the possibility of some military role, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying the country could take a role in future fighting against ISIS.
The comments were decidedly non-committal, though Erdogan did say he was open to deploying ground troops into Syria for the creation of a future “buffer zone” along the border.
Turkey had been keen to see a buffer zone created inside Syria as a way of getting rid of some 1.3 million refugees they’ve taken in since the war began. Since much of the Turkish-Syrian border is now ISIS-held, it’s not an ideal place to carve out a temporary refugee camp.
Turkey had proposed the buffer zone years ago, when the Syrian Civil War began, but the fact that they’re once again floating the idea suggests they may be nearing some commitment to the conflict, despite the huge risk of blowback in fighting a war right along their southern border.