Posted on July 9, 2017
Turkey would never allow a Kurdish state in Syria, Erdogan says
HAMBURG,— Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said Turkey would never allow a Kurdish state in Syrian Kurdistan near its border, and warned that if threatened, Ankara would not hesitate to use its right to self-defence.
“We will never remain silent or unresponsive to the backing and arming of terrorist groups, and the formation of terror islets right next to our border,” Erdogan said in a speech at the closing session of the G20 summit in Hamburg.
“We will not hesitate to use our legitimate right to defence against formations that threaten our country’s security.”
Ankara considers the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighting in Syria to be a terrorist group and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
But the U.S regards the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party PYD and its powerful military wing YPG, as key ally against Islamic State and the most effective fighting force against IS in Syria and has provided them with arms, air support as well as the military advisers.
Ankara fears the creation of a Kurdish state in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) could encourage separatism amongst its own Kurds.
Observers say Turkey is using “security threat” as pretext to invade the Syrian Kurdish region in order not allow Kurds to connect the three cantons of Syrian Kurdistan together.
Erdogan said Turkey would “never allow” a Kurdish state in Syrian Kurdistan (northern Syria).
Turkish troops and YPG forces have repeatedly exchanged cross-border fire in recent days, and there is speculation Ankara may be planning an assault on the group in the Kurdish canton of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan.
Tens of thousands of people protested against Turkey in Afrin on Wednesday, chanting: “No to Turkish intervention.”
Erdogan said the issue of Afrin was a “threat” for Turkey.
“As long as this threat continues, we will activate our rules of engagement and will continue to give the necessary answer to those in Afrin,” he said.
Syrian Kurdish PYD officials have called on the international coalition to stop Turkey’s military operation against Syrian Kurdistan.
The Turkish leader also hit back at the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s plan to hold a referendum on independence.
“It is a troubling step for Iraq’s future,” he said in Hamburg.
He said Turkish concerns were conveyed to Iraqi Kurdish leader Messud Barzani, an ally of Ankara.
“We said ‘this is a wrong path. Give up on this, otherwise it will be difficult for you to pay a price tomorrow.’ I don’t know at what stage they are right now,” Erdogan said.
“I hope that they will give up holding a referendum.”
On August 24, 2016, Turkey and Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army FSA have launched an incursion into northern Syria, east of Afrin, to stop the US-backed 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 and preventing them creating a de facto Kurdish mini-state along Turkey’s frontier.
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.