“We cannot and will not allow the PYD and the YPG to form a so-called state in northern Syria,” Erdogan said in a speech to neighborhood heads at the Presidential Palace on Aug. 22.
According to Hurriyet daily he claimed that using the term “Kurdish state” is an “insult to my Kurdish brothers.”
“I believe that my Kurdish brothers would never allow such a formation in northern Syria and southern Turkey. We are one nation within our country in a unitary structure. We are one nation with 80 million people. We have one flag, one homeland and one state. [We have] a homeland of 780,000 square kilometers. We will send those who want to break this nation apart to the grave,” Erdogan said.
He also referred to the 2,000-square kilometer area in northern Syria that was brought under Turkish control with the Euphrates Shield Operation, carried out between August 2016 and March 2017 to clear the area from the Islamic State (IS) and the PYD.
“Why did we enter Jarablus? When 56 of our citizens were martyred in [the southeastern province of] Gaziantep we said ‘We cannot be patient anymore’ and we entered Jarablus. Then we entered al-Rai, al-Bab and brought a 2,000-square kilometer area under control,” Erdogan said, referring to the IS attack carried out in Gaziantep last year against a wedding that killed 56 people.
Saying the PYD and the YPG aim to form a “terror corridor” to reach the Mediterranean in northern Syria, Erdogan vowed that Turkey will respond just as it does to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“There are Kurds who take sides with Turkey and those who are with the PYD. We have no problem with our Kurdish brothers. We don’t find it right to view all Kurds in Turkey as being on the side of the PKK and the same is true for Afrin [in northern Syria]. There are tribes that can act with us,” he told reporters on the presidential plane while returning to Turkey from Jordan on Aug. 21.
“If the possibility of terror dominating the area emerges, we’ll intervene. Afrin is a very significant region. One way to reach it is through the Turkish border in Hatay, and there is a passage to Idlib on the other side,” he said, adding that Ankara had discussed these issues with Iran and Russia and will continue to do so via foreign ministries and intelligence channels.
Reporter’s code: 50101