Turkey strikes Kurdish PYD in Syria twice: Turkish PM
Uğur Ergan - ANKARA
AP photoThe Turkish army has hit the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria twice for violating the red line Turkey has imposed on the western part of the Euphrates River, the Turkish prime minister has said.
“We said: ‘The PYD will not pass to the west of the Euphrates. We’ll hit them if they do.’ And we hit them twice.
A Syrian helicopter was downed last year. An unmanned aerial vehicle was hit as well. It’s not possible to do anything in Syria without Turkey,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told pro-government broadcaster A Haber late Oct 26.
Turkey considers the PYD an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and therefore as a terrorist organization, unlike the United States and the European Union which see them as a group that can cooperate with the coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Military sources told daily Hürriyet that the first of the two strikes mentioned by Davutoğlu was about four months ago, following fire on the Turkish side from a region controlled by the PYD. The Turkish military responded under its rules of engagement.
The second Turkish fire against the PYD was 10 days ago when a group of 20 on three boats attempted to pass to the western banks of the Euphrates. First, Turkish soldiers opened warning fire with machine guns, but as the group advanced, Turkish tanks also fired. Military sources talking to Hürriyet gave no information about the casualties of the PYD, but said the National Security Council (MGK) was briefed on the issue on Oct. 21.
The same sources denied recent claims that Turkey fired at Tal Abyad late on Oct. 24.
Davutoğlu said once more that the PYD and Syria’s government had agreed to conspire against Turkey in a meeting on May 28, which was also an indication the PKK decided to cease the Kurdish solution process.
“They’d better know this: Afterwards, those in this region who will be on Turkey’s side will win while those who are against Turkey will lose,” he said.
“Turkey has not laid all of its cards on the table yet. The picture will be different when it does so.”
Davutoğlu said Turkey hit 458 different PKK positions in three days while clearing the Turkish border from ISIL shelters. “Those who start such a war against Turkey will bear the consequences.”
The Turkish prime minister also said Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu went to Paris to attend a meeting on Syria before the reunion of key countries in Vienna seeking a formula to end the Syria crisis on Oct. 23.
“Would a plan work in Syria despite Turkey? Had such a plan worked, al-Assad would still have the full control of the country today. Such a plan would not work because Turkey can never leave the fate of its 911-kilometer-long border to any country’s decision. We have made it clear to the U.S. and to Russia,” Davutoğlu said.
HDP reacts to gov’t
The Turkish government apparently is not satisfied with ongoing conflict in the country and seems to be eager to declare war against the Syrian Kurdish region, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said.
“We are face to face with death and war, with this bitter truth every day. This doesn’t seem sufficient; the government must not be satisfied with that,” Demirtaş told reporters on Oct. 27, adding the government wanted to “make the situation convenient to virtually declare war” on the Syrian Kurdish region.
“Davutoğlu is making proud statements that there have been attacks and interventions directed there [the Syrian Kurdish region] on the eve of the [Nov. 1] elections. I want to state that it is a shame,” he said, referring to the Davutoğlu statement on striking the Kurdish militia fighters in Syria twice.
“While the PYD hasn’t made any threats against Turkey and while the Syrian Kurds have been extending their hands of fraternity and peace to Turkey, Davutoğlu’s consideration of the PYD as a threat instead of considering ISIL as a threat there is a shame for him,” Demirtaş said.