Turkey not to leave fate of Syrian Kurds to PKK: President
Ankara sees Arabs’ security and peace and the problems Kurds face in Syria as its own business, and the Turkish army is in Syria to give their freedom back, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
“We see the security and peace of the Arabs in Syria as our own. We consider the Kurdish problem as our own matter,” Erdoğan said on Dec. 24.
“Why are we in Syria now? To give the freedom of our Syrian brothers back to them, to give the freedom of our Kurdish brothers back to them, not to terror organizations,” the president said.
Turkey did not leave Arabs to ISIL and will not leave Syrian Kurds to the “oppression” of the PKK, he stated.
The issue in Syria is not about Arabs, Kurds, or Turkmens, but about freedom and the territorial integrity of Syria, he said, adding that some 300,000 Syrians living in Turkey returned to Syria.
Erdoğan noted that Turkey also aims to “secure” the Sinjar region in Iraq and already “has been taking necessary measures.”
His remarks came after the U.S. decision to pullout from Syria and a change in Turkey’s plans for an operation to eliminate the YPG from swathes of territory in Syria. Two weeks ago, Erdoğan announced an operation into the east of River Euphrates. He later postponed the plan after Trump’s decision.
The two NATO allies have long been at odds over Syria, where Washington has backed the YPG, the Syrian branch of PKK. Ankara strongly opposes this cooperation as the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey, as well as the U.S. and the EU.