Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AP
ANKARA,—Ankara is dissatisfied with the attention Russia and the United States are paying to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party PYD, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.
“We are upset that Russia and the United States pay attention to the terrorist organization PYD. It should leave the territories it is occupying,” Erdogan said, as aired by the CNN Turk channel.
Turkey considers the PYD an extension of the nationalist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist group in Turkey. But Russia and U.S. do not list the PYD as a terrorist organization.
Turkey fears the creation of an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria that will not be loyal to Ankara — would spur the separatist ambitions of Turkey’s own Kurds. Turkey is dreaming of and doing every possible to create a system in northern Syria identical to the Turkey-loyal Iraqi Kurdistan Region, analysts say.
Russia and the United States support the Syrian Kurds, as both countries consider the group’s self-defense forces to be the most effective force in fights against Islamic State group (IS). The Kurdish militia has seized swathes of Syria from IS.
Syrian Kurdistan’s ruling PYD has established three autonomous zones, or Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and a Kurdish government across Syrian Kurdistan in 2013. On March 17, 2016 Syria’s Kurds declared a federal region in Syrian Kurdistan. On Dec. 30, 2016 Syrian Kurds approved a blueprint for a system of federal government in Syrian Kurdistan, reaffirming their plans for autonomy in areas they have controlled during the civil war.
The United States has been supporting the PYD forces to counter in Syria IS jihadist group, which led to the deterioration of the US-Turkey relations. Russia has repeatedly criticized the absence of the Kurds during the talks on Syrian reconciliation, while Ankara opposed to the move.
On August 24, 2016, Turkey, along with the Free Syrian Army, launched “Euphrates Shield”, an incursion into northern Syria, east of Afrin canton to stop the Kurdish YPG forces from extending areas under their control and connecting Syrian Kurdistan’s Kobani and Hasaka in the east with Afrin canton in the west.