David Cameron will travel to Turkey tomorrow to hold talks with the Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over growing concerns that the country is being used as a staging post for British jihadists to travel to fight for ISIS. Although Turkey is a NATO member it has been accused of doing too little to support efforts at its border to tackle ISIS.
The Prime Minister will discuss the “very significant challenge” caused by the influx of Kurds displaced by violence in Iraq and Syria. Although Cameron will focus on counter-terrorism and ISIS during his his short visit, his spokesman confirmed he was still committed to the “long standing aim” of bringing Turkey into the European Union.
Last month the chairman of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Congressman Mike Rogers, suggested that NATO should consider expelling Turkey from the group due to its inaction over ISIS. The West had hoped Turkey would help the Peshmerga in their battle to defeat ISIS but Kurdish fighters are also engaged in a struggle with Turkey itself. This has left the Turkish government reluctant to help the Peshmerga, and have so far refused to cross the border into towns like Kobane.
The Prime Minister is expected to reassert his desire to see a transition from the Assad regime in Syria to the “moderate opposition” but this aim seems further away than ever. He is expected to miss Prime Ministers’ Question time on Wednesday as a result of the trip. Nick Clegg will take questions instead.
As least 500 British nationals are believed to have travelled to fight for ISIS, most of them illegally cross the border from Turkey. Co-operation from the country is seen as vital to knowing who is trying to get to the ISIS controlled area, and to try to catch them before they commit acts of terrorism in Britain.