A history of appalling brutality between the Ankara government and the Kurds is the key to President Erdogan's priorities In 1994, I was wandering around the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul when a bomb went off in the next street. At first I thought a cooking stove had blown up, but then heavily armed police and soldiers poured into the building and shouted at us to leave. Later in the day, I discovered that two people had been killed and many others injured. It was my first visit to Turkey, and a shocking introduction to the armed conflict between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Last year, the PKK's imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, called for a ceasefire. By then, the conflict had been going for almost 30 years and killed around 42,000 people; most of the dead were Kurdish insurgents or civilians but the fatalities included more than 6,500 members of the Turkish security forces. This is the background to the otherwise bewildering behaviour of Turkey, which has tanks stationed within sight of the besieged Syrian town of Kobani. Last week, as mainly Kurdish fighters fought street battles with Islamic State, also known as Isis, Turkish forces watched and did nothing. To an outside observer, it might seem reasonable to assume that Turkey's leaders would be dismayed at the prospect of a swathe of Syria falling under the control of a group so extreme that it split from al-Qaeda's affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra. Turkey is a member of Nato and supports, nominally at least, US policy towards Syria and Iraq. It has the second-largest army in Nato and shares a long border with Syria, which puts it in a better position to intervene than most of the countries with a stake in the conflict. Read More At: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices...key-is-allowing-the-town-to-fall-9789197.html "Erdogan is a bad guy, he kills his own people". "We need to get rid of Erdogan because he kills his own people". "We have to liberate Turkey because it's leaders kill their own people". Oh wait that was Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Erdogan is still on our side, nevermind.