The militant group ISIS has beheaded four Western hostages, two from the United States and two from Britain. But it’s sending a message to a country far from either of those places — Turkey.

ISIS is holding 49 Turkish hostages, a matter so serious in Turkey that it is illegal there to talk about the subject. And ISIS wants Turkey to stay out of the American-led coalition devoted to wiping out the militants.

Turkey could be an especially useful coalition partner: It has a powerful military, and it shares a long border with Syria. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spent two days in the capital Ankara last week to lobby for Turkish backing while acknowledging the Turks’ “sensitive issues.”


‘No Time to Lose’: World Leaders Gather at ISIS Summit
ISIS Extremists Claim to Behead British Hostage David Haines
Tricky Diplomacy Awaits U.S. in ISIS Fight, Analysts Say