Erdogan’s statement comes as the majority Kurdish territories of Syria fell to Kurdish groups, some of whom Ankara said were linked with the PKK that has been fighting the Turkish state for three decades.
Turkish officials have claimed that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has deliberately abandoned the Kurdish territories close to Turkish border to the Kurdish groups, AK News reported.
Erdogan has told the TV 24 channel that a PKK-linked Kurdish presence could give Turkey “cause to intervene militarily in Syria”, referring to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that has gained control of several Kurdish districts and towns.
The Turkish PM’s remarks were elicited by a heated debate in the country over the possible creation of a Kurdish state in northeastern Syria. A Kurdish state in Syria, though rejected by Kurdish leaders, could destabilize Turkey’s own southeast that’s mainly populated by Kurds.
"The terrorist PKK organization's cooperation with [the PKK-linked Democratic Union Party] PYD is something we cannot look upon favorably. If a formation that's going to be a problem, if there is a terror operation, an irritant emerges, then intervening there would be our most natural right," Zaman daily quoted him as saying in the interview.
Syrian Kurdish opposition figures claimed earlier this week that Assad's forces have quit areas of Hassaka and Aleppo provinces, which border Turkey, leaving them under the control of the PYD.
On Wednesday, Turkey deployed heavy armored vehicles to the Syrian border in Sanlıurfa's Suruc district. This area is close to Syria's Qamishli district, which is claimed to be controlled by PYD.
Erdogan stressed that any PKK-linked Kurdish presence around Syria's Qamishli district will seriously disturb Turkey and Turkey just can't ignore this development.
On Tuesday night, Erdogan had five-hour marathon talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and chief of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan in Ankara. It was not immediately clear what the officials discussed but it is believed that the intensifying clashes in Syria dominated the agenda of the security meeting.
Turkey has been staging air strikes and artillery shelling of the border territories of Kurdistan Region of Iraq for years ostensibly aiming at dislodging the PKK rebels from Qandil Mountains in Kurdistan Region on the Turkish border.