Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks to the media during a news conference in Ankara on Oct. 13. (Photo: AP)
October 29, 2015, Thursday/
10:15:53/ REUTERS WITH TODAYSZAMAN.COM / ISTANBUL
will “do what is necessary” to prevent US-allied Syrian Kurds from
declaring autonomy in the town of Tel Abyad near the Turkish border, which includes conducting
further military operations, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday.
PKK pick up truck
member Turkey is part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in
Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
militants in Syria, but it sees advances by autonomy-seeking Kurds, led by the
Democratic Union Party (PYD),
as a threat to its own national security, fearing they could stoke separatism
among Turkish Kurds.
PKK & PYD
jets recently hit the Syrian Kurds’ armed People’s Protection Units (YPG)
targets twice after they defied Ankara and crossed west of the Euphrates River.
was a warning. ‘Pull yourself together. If you try to do this elsewhere —
Turkey doesn’t need permission from anyone — we will do what is
necessary,'” Erdoğan said, signaling that he could defy Washington’s
demand that Ankara avoid hitting Syrian Kurds and focus his military might on
in remarks broadcast live on the Kanal 24 television station, also accused the
PYD of carrying out “ethnic cleansing” in the area and said that
Western support for the Syrian Kurdish militias amounted to aiding terrorism.
by US-led air strikes, YPG fighters captured Tel Abyad in June from ISIL and
this month a local leadership council declared the town part of the system of
autonomous self-governing “cantons” run by the Kurds.
PKK & PYD
PYD is committing ethnic cleansing here [of] Arabs and Turkmens,” Erdoğan
said. “If the Kurds withdraw and don’t form a canton, there’s no problem.
But if the mindset continues, then what is necessary will be done or we will
face serious problems.
are determined to [combat] anything that threatens us along the Syrian border,
inside or out.”
does not want to see an autonomous Kurdish entity resembling Iraqi Kurdistan
emerging on its southern flank, said Erdoğan, speaking days before a Turkish
parliamentary election that has aggravated political and security tensions.
Western allies are now arming the Kurds, he added.
Demonstration two weeks after bomb in Ankara
don’t even accept the PYD as a terrorist organization. What kind of nonsense is
this?” he said. “The West still has the mentality that ‘My terrorist is
good, yours is bad.'”
Turkey, the armed forces have resumed their 30-year fight with the Kurdistan
Workers’ Party (PKK),
which has close links with their ethnic brethren across the border in Syria.
said 1,400 PKK militants were fighting alongside the YPG in Syria.
US and Europe, like Turkey, classify the PKK as a terrorist organization but
regard the Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish groupings as valuable allies in the fight
against ISIL and other jihadists.