PKK fighting for Armenia, Erdoğan tells Putin
Turkey is sincere in its efforts to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and believes in Russia’s sincerity, President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday, adding that he had told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin that illegal PKK members were fighting along with Armenian forces.
Speaking at the parliament, Erdoğan said he told Putin that Armenia is using PKK members in the conflict of Nagorno Karabakh after the Russian leader expressed concerns in their phone call on Oct. 27 over the increased involvement of fighters from the Middle East.
“They tell us ‘You are sending troops from the Middle East, from Syria to Azerbaijan, you are sending foreign forces.’ And I told Mr. President that at the moment, Armenia has taken around 2,000 PKK and YPG members, with a salary of 600 dollars. They are fighting there and are there as foreign fighters.”
Putin in response said he was not aware of that fact, Erdoğan said.
“You have to focus on this. ‘Do you know where these PKK and YPG members come from?’ I asked. They have been working in Syria and have come from Syria, and we need solidarity in this regard. Of course, I do not think that Mr. Putin will give heed to the PKK and YPG, but he must tell Pashinyan this,” Erdoğan stated.
Recalling his talk with Putin, Erdoğan said he told the Russian leader, “Let’s stop this matter in the Caucasus now. If you want, we can solve this together. You hold meetings with Pashinyan, and I will have these meetings with my brother Ilham. Let’s make it up.”
The president also said Turkey had the legitimate right to act once again if militants were not cleared along its border with Syria.
“If the terrorists here are not cleared as we were promised, we have the legitimate right to mobilize once again,” he said.
Erdoğan also strongly condemned Russia for conducting an airstrike that killed dozens of pro-Ankara rebels in Syria. “Russia’s attack on the training center of the Syrian national army forces in the Idlib region shows it does not want lasting peace in the region.”
In an offensive a year ago, Turkish-backed opposition fighters seized a 120-kilometer-long border in the territory of northeast Syria from the YPG group, which Ankara views as a terrorist group.