ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed once again on Saturday not to allow a Kurdish state in northern Syria.
In a public speech in Istanbul, Erdogan justified his army’s incursion into Syria, specifying the presence of Turkish troops there was to ensure “the true owners” of the land come back and settle.
“They want to found a new state in northern Syria,” Erdogan said. “Let this be known; we will not allow the creation of such a state.”
The Turkish President added there were also attempts at creating a state in eastern Turkey, in remarks carried by the private-owned Dogan news agency.
None of the Kurdish parties in Syria, including the ruling Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its opposition the Kurdish National Council (ENKS), demand secession.
Though both rival sides strongly advocate different degrees of autonomy and self-governance for the Kurds and other minority groups in the north, there already exists a functioning self-declared autonomous region named Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava.
Turkey’s leaders have previously called Rojava a “terror corridor.”
The Turkish military backing the Free Syrian Army (FSA) launched the movement called the Operation Euphrates Shield in late August against the Islamic State (IS) and the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
A long-pursued design by Turkey’s leadership to disrupt Kurdish territorial expansion in the face of IS, the Turkish Army entered Syria only after Erdogan apologized to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the late 2015 shoot-down of a Russian warplane near the border.
In January 2015, Erdogan likened the prospects of a Kurdish rule in Syria to that in Iraq where Kurdish parties formed today’s constitutionally-recognized Kurdistan Region.
“We cannot accept a new northern Iraq. Such formations will lead to great troubles tomorrow,” Erdogan had told the Hurriyet newspaper.
Turkey perceives both Kurdish-ruled regions as the prelude to a future Greater Kurdistan which would encompass a dozen or more provinces in its east and southeast.
The leader of the far-right opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli warned against failure in the Syria operation.
“If we return from al-Bab empty-handed, we will risk Diyarbakir,” said Bahceli in the same hours in Ankara as Erdogan was speaking in Istanbul.
In a recent turn of events, Bahceli had announced support for a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to transfer the cabinet’s executive powers to President Erdogan.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany