Erdogan says Turkey will not allow new PKK front on border

President Erdogan says Turkey will not allow formation of 'new Qandil' on its southeastern border, referring to Qandil mountains of northern Iraq where PKK has headquarters

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting with local authorities in Ankara on Feb. 17, 2016.

Updated Feb 19, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey will not allow the formation of a new Qandil on its southeastern border, referring to the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq, where the PKK terrorist organisation has its headquarters.

"Nobody should doubt that. We will not allow the formation of a new 'Qandil' on our southern border," he said.

Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by the PKK, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and EU.

Erdogan also emphasised that there is a link between the PYD and the PKK and said ignoring this link between two is a “hostile act.”

Ankara considers the PYD as the Syrian extension of the PKK terrorist organisation although the US considers PYD as an ally against the DAESH terrorist group. The YPG is the militant wing of PYD.

“I am having a hard time understanding the United States which is not able to say the PYD and YPG are terrorist organisations. It is clear who the founder of the PYD/YPG was in all the records belonging to the PKK. Are we not together with the US within NATO? Are we your friend or is the PYD/YPG?” Erdogan said.

Erdogan continued to say the US should state whether it is sending arms to the PYD/YPG or not.

“Let us know about these issues so that we will not have to talk to you about them. A friend should do what a friendship requires,” he added.

President Erdogan also said Turkey does not intend to stop shelling PYD/YPG targets in Syria.

"They [the West] tell us to stop shelling. Forgive me, but there is no question we'll do such a thing,” he said.

"Today our rules of engagement may be just about responding to an armed attack against our country, but tomorrow if necessary those rules can be expanded to cover every threat," Erdogan added.

The Turkish military has been shelling PYD and PKK positions in northern Syria for four consecutive days in retaliation for artillery fire from PYD forces based around Azaz, located in Aleppo’s northern countryside, on Saturday night.

Speaking on the third day of shelling, Davutoglu warned the YPG that it would face the "harshest reaction" if they tried to capture a town near the border.

“We will not let Azaz fall. The YPG will not be able to cross to the west of the Euphrates [River] and east of Afrin,” he added.

TRTWorld and agencies