Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey will never permit a Kurdish state to be established close to its borders and will not watch passively as arms are sent to Kurdish groups.
“We will definitely not remain silent and unresponsive to the support and arming of terror organizations next to our borders and the forming of terror islands in the region,” said Erdogan on July 8.
The U.S. has been sending arms to Kurdish YPG troops, who are engaged in operations aimed at recapturing the Syrian city of Raqqah from Daesh.
The city of Raqqah, which lies on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, was overrun by Daesh terrorists in March 2013.
Turkey considers the YPG to be associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, who have been leading a decades-long deadly war against Ankara in quest for an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey.
The YPG is part of a larger coalition of fighters — the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which the U.S. considers its main proxy force fighting on the ground in Syria.
“We will not hesitate to use our legitimate right to defense against formations that threaten our country’s security,” he added.
Turkey also fears that the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Syria may encourage separatism amongst its own Kurds.
Erdogan added that Ankara would “never allow” a Kurdish state in northern Syria.
Over the past few weeks, Turkey has sent reinforcements into areas near the Kurdish-held districts of Aleppo, such as Afrin where on July 5, thousands of people protested Turkey’s military presence.
Noting that the situation in Afrin was a “threat” to Turkey, Erdogan said that, “As long as this threat continues, we will activate our rules of engagement and will continue to give the necessary answer to those in Afrin.”
Editor’s Note: In agreement with the Turkish viewpoint is German Chancellor Angela Merkel verbalized the position of her country regarding Kurdish independence during the G20 meeting in Hamburg. Merkel maintained that Germany’s support of the the Kurdish people precludes any ventures outside of Iraq and that staying inside of Iraq “ is a condition of our support for the Kurds,” as reported by Presstv. The Iraqi Kurds have plans to hold an independence referendum at some time this year, though Baghdad has not officially acknowledged their plans.