Turkey won’t allow establishment of a state in northern Syria: President Erdoğan
President Erdoğan speaks during an event in Şanlıurfa - AA photo.
Turkey will “never” allow the establishment of a state in northern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, while criticizing the United States for cooperating with the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG).
“In our south, in northern Syria the PYD and YPG are trying to do things. You should know that regardless of those standing with or behind you, Turkey, with its armed forces and all its capabilities, won’t allow the establishment of a state in northern Syria,” Erdoğan said during a speech in the Akçakale district of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa on June 23, as he added that Ankara conveyed the issue to Washington, which arms the YPG in order for the group to use the weapon in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Turkey has repeatedly asked the U.S. to cut its ties with the YPG, which it says is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey considers the YPG as a terrorist group.
The U.S. and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group, but not the YPG.
“We told this issue to the U.S. and other countries. We said, ‘Please, never allow such a thing [establishment of a state] to happen. If you do so, the struggle there would be different and you would be mentioned with terror states.’ We will continue our struggle regarding this issue,” Erdoğan also said.
Later on June 23, Erdoğan gave a speech in Şanlıurfa’s Harran district, saying that in case of a possible threat against Turkish borders from Syria, Turkey would do the same as what it did during the Euphrates Shield Operation.
“If the ongoing negative developments in Syria pose a threat against our borders in the future, if we are faced with such an incident, then the whole world should know that we will do the same things we did during the Euphrates Shield Operation. Everyone should know this,” he also said, referring to the military operation launched by Turkey in August 2016 to clear its Syria border of ISIL.
During his speech, Erdoğan also said that Ankara’s strategic partners are “unfortunately” acting together with terrorist groups.
“We said, ‘Come and let’s fight against ISIL terror group together.’ Can’t we defeat this terror group called ISIL with nine coalition countries? The PYD and the YPG are terror groups. Unfortunately they insisted on working with them,” he said, referring to the anti-ISIL coalition led by the U.S.
“So we told them, ‘In case of even the slightest threat against our country, we will do what’s necessary without consulting anyone,’” he added.