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The fight against ISIS, whether in Ain al-Arab or around Mount Sinjar, has become an opportunity for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to prove that it is no longer a terrorist organization but a formidable regional force that shares universal values with the West.Turkey's reaction to the siege of Ain al-Arab, known in Kurdish as Kobani, has drawn significant backlash internationally and domestically. The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the dominant political party whose fighters are defending Ain al-Arab, is technically a part of the PKK's Kurdistan Communities Union, which is now led by rebel commanders of the PKK in Iraq's Qandil Mountains. Not realizing the fight in Ain al-Arab would attract worldwide attention – let alone become a symbol in the fight against ISIS – Ankara initially rejected the PYD's request to allow Kurdish fighters, along with their heavy weapons, through the Turkish border with Syria to join the fight.However, Turkey's agreement to allow reinforcements into Ain al-Arab was contingent on the condition that only the KRG's fighters would be allowed through.Even though Turkey does not formally list the PYD as a terrorist organization, Erdogan made it very clear that for Ankara, two terrorist organizations (the PYD and ISIS) are clashing in Ain al-Arab, and that Ankara would not take sides.The fight is depicting the PKK as an indigenous force protecting what is deemed to be Kurdish territory, further boosting its nationalist credentials.If Ain al-Arab falls, Turkey's Kurds may indeed give up on the peace dialogue.
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