For Turkey and U.S., At Odds Over Syria, a 60-Year Alliance Shows Signs of Crumbling

Thick smoke from an airstrike by the US-led coalition rises in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Thick smoke from an airstrike by the US-led coalition rises in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Thick smoke from an airstrike by the US-led coalition rises in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

 

 The increasingly hostile divergence of views between Turkey and the United States over Syria is testing the durability of their 60-year alliance, to the point where some are starting to question whether the two countries still can be considered allies at all.

Turkey’s refusal to allow the United States to use its bases to launch attacks against the Islamic State, quarrels over how to manage the battle raging in the Syrian border town of Kobane and the harsh tone of the anti-American rhetoric used by top Turkish officials to denounce U.S. policy have served to illuminate the vast gulf that divides the two nations as they scramble to address the menace posed by the extremists.

Whether the Islamic State even is the chief threat confronting the region is disputed, with Washington and Ankara publicly airing their differences through a fog of sniping, insults and recrimination over who is to blame for the mess the Middle East has become.

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