Turkey votes to join coalition against ISIS

The Turkish parliament voted Thursday to authorize its military to join the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), adding another prominent Muslim country to the U.S.-led coalition.

Turkish lawmakers approved action in a 298-98 vote, CNN reported. While the country had previously pledged to join the coalition, it has not yet conducted any military actions. 

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The plan reportedly allows the Turkish military to enter both Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS and would allow coalition troops to travel through Turkey.

The addition of NATO’s second biggest army is a boon to the U.S.-led coalition effort.

Britain, France, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have all joined the U.S. in launching airstrikes against ISIS. A number of other countries have also committed military resources.

The U.S. hopes to use airstrikes to support Syrian-opposition and Kurdish Peshmerga forces on the ground to ultimately destroy ISIS.

The U.S. had pressed Turkey to join the coalition, but the country was initially reluctant.

Turkey’s shift, though, comes as ISIS militants advance on an important historic site in Turkey: the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I, who founded the Ottoman Empire.

While the tomb is actually in Syria, it’s considered Turkish territory. ISIS has destroyed religious and historical monuments in the past, including Shia mosques. The group’s recent advances toward the tomb have worried Turkey’s leaders.