Opposition Deputy Baykal defends Turkey's shelling of PYD

Turkey’s main opposition party’s Deputy Deniz Baykal says Turkey’s recent shelling of PKK and its Syrian affiliate PYD positions in northern Syria aims to prevent new refugee influx

Photo by: AA (Archive)
Photo by: AA (Archive)

Deniz Baykal is the former head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). He was elected as Antalya deputy in Nov. 1 snap election.

Turkey’s recent shelling of terrorist PKK group and its Syrian affiliate PYD positions in northern Syria is an attempt to prevent a new wave of refugees, Turkish opposition Deputy, Deniz Baykal said on Monday evening.

In an interview that aired on a private television network, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Deniz Baykal said that it was Turkey’s legitimate right to demand interference in another refugee influx, considering the country was already hosting over 2.5 million Syrian refugees.

Noting that the chaos in Middle East was putting serious pressure on Turkey, Baykal said that Turkey would be subjected to a continuous stream of refugees unless peace is restored.

"Unfortunately, unless the Azaz-Aleppo route is kept open, this will invite a new wave of migrants," he said, adding that Turkey’s move came as an attempt to keep this route open and prevent a "big attack and massacre in Aleppo."

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

The exchange of fire came after YPG's recent advances into Azaz, which has been the scene of recent heavy fighting, just six kilometres (four miles) from the Turkish border, serving as a critical corridor.

PM Davutoglu thanks Baykal for his remarks

Baykal said the issue was no longer about Azaz, but about interrupting an attempt to "change the historical identity of Aleppo."

"We are seeing plans of an infiltration from southern Syria into Aleppo. Aleppo is a Sunni city, and has always been. … One needs to seriously question a policy geared towards handing over this city to Russia, Assad forces and Shia and Alawite forces.

"I don’t think it is right to ‘not get involved’ in a process which would lead to a change in historical identity. The US doesn’t have the right to turn its back on this, either," he added.

Addressing his lawmakers on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu thanked Baykal for his "remarks worthy of a statesman who analysed developments along our border through a perspective of national security".

The PYD is the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey as well as the US and EU.

The PKK has targeted Turkish security forces and civilians since 1984. It resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state in late July 2015.

Since then, more than 300 members of the security forces have died and thousands of PKK terrorists killed in operations across Turkey and northern Iraq.

TRTWorld, AA