Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey will never allow the establishment of a Kurdish state in Syria after major gains by Kurdish fighters.
In a strong-worded warning late on Friday, Erdogan accused the Kurds of ethnically cleaning other communities from land they have taken after pushing back militants of the Takfiri group, ISIL, from the Turkish border.
“I say to the international community that whatever price must be paid, we will never allow the establishment of a new state on our southern frontier in the north of Syria,” Erdogan was quoted by Turkish media as telling guests at a dinner to break the Ramadan fast.
He accused Kurdish forces of “changing the demographic structure” of several areas close to the Turkish border, which also have Arab and Turkmen populations.
Turkey has fought a 31-year insurgency in the south east of the country by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara claims is closely linked to the main Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.
Meanwhile, Erdogan again denied persistent claims of Turkish collusion with theTakfiris, saying, “it is a big lie to accuse Turkey of having link with a terrorist organization.”
Despite ongoing peace talks with the PKK, the creation of any Kurdish zone in the north of Syria deeply worries Turkey, particularly as it borders the already autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.
However, Turkish media speculated Saturday that Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had asked its military to intervene in Syria earlier in the week.
The press said that the military high command demanded a written order from the government, with a new one yet to formed after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its overall majority for the first time in 13 years in a parliamentary election on June 7.