Erdogan says Turkey will fight Kurdish groups as fiercely as Turkey fights Daesh

Published August 29th, 2016 - 12:55 GMT
A Turkish army tank enters Syria last week (AFP/Bulent Kilic)
A Turkish army tank enters Syria last week (AFP/Bulent Kilic)

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.

Erdogan’s remarks come after Turkish forces and allied rebel groups attacked Daesh in Jarablus-a north Syrian town near the Turkish border-last week. The operation was successful.

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.

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.


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