Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will fight Kurdish groups in Syria with the same zeal that they fight Daesh (ISIS), multiple Arabic-language outlets reported today. The remarks were made in Gaziantep, the site of a deadly Daesh suicide bombing at a wedding last week.
However, Turkish jets struck People’s Protection Units (YPG) positions in the area yesterday as Turkish-backed rebel groups fought with Syria’s main Kurdish nationalist force after Daesh’s defeat in Jarablus. This perhaps sparked Erdogan’s comments.
Critics of Erdogan often criticize him for allegedly not doing enough to fight Daesh. Some have claimed the real reason for their intervention in Jarablus is to contain the YPG, which has connections to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) currently in conflict with the Turkish government in southeast Turkey. The language such critics use isn’t always nice, and some responses to today’s news are no exception.
اردوغان:سنقاتل المسلحين الاكراد مثلما نقاتل تنظيم داعش…— خالد ضيف الله (@khaliddeafallah) August 29, 2016
كذاب يا سلطان الحريم والحمير لم تقاتل ابدا داعش
كل ما يحدث مسرحيات سابقة الإعداد
Erdogan: we fight armed Kurds like we fight Daesh...Liar, sultan and donkey. You’ve never fought Daesh. All that happens is predetermined.
The Pentagon: the clashes in northern Syria are in areas where Daesh is not present..Erdogan wants to fight the Kurds and not Daesh.
Turkey has attacked Daesh in Syria on several occasions other than in Jarablus. At the same time, Turkey has attacked Kurdish targets who are fighting Daesh in the country on several occasions, in addition to backing various rebel groups.