Erdoğan to PYD: Those issuing threats should think about what will happen
ISTANBULThe Turkish military launched the Jarablus operation against “terror organizations such as Daesh [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL] and the PYD [Democratic Union Party],” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, warning that threats from the latter will be responded to in kind.
Those who challenge Turkey should think about what will happen, Erdoğan said in a speech at the presidential palace in the capital Ankara on Aug. 24.
“They challenged us. They said ‘this and that will happen to Turkey in Syria.’ Now I am addressing them: You should think of what will happen to yourselves,” he said.
Erdoğan’s harshly-worded remarks came in response to comments on the Jarablus operation by Salih Muslim, head of the PYD, who reportedly wrote on his Twitter that Turkish forces would face inevitable defeat, according to Reuters. “Turkey is in [the] Syrian quagmire. [Turkey] will be defeated as Daesh,” Muslim tweeted in Turkish, Arabic and English.
Turkey regards both the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the PYD’s military wing which is fighting against ISIL jihadists, and the PYD as offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been in renewed conflict with Turkish security forces since July 2015.
Turkey has repeatedly stressed it would not tolerate Kurds moving west of the Euphrates River, with YPG-PYD advances in northern Syria remaining the key security issue for Ankara. The Turkish government has labeled both groups as terrorist organizations, despite their fierce efforts in fighting ISIL.
“Turkey has much to lose in the Syrian swamp,” Muslim also said.
At a press conference held in Ankara within an hour of Erdoğan’s remarks, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Kurdish fighters must return east of the Euphrates or Turkey would “do what is necessary.”
Labeling the Jarablus operation as a turning point, Çavuşoğlu argued it would accelerate removing ISIL from Syria’s Aleppo region.