Turkey gave a clear warning to Masoud Barzani, president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Administration, that the autonomous region in northern Iraq would not be applied to Syria, Turkey’s premier has said.
“We cannot let playing of such a scenario here [in Syria]. We told this to Barzani too. We wanted him to know this,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a group of journalists on board a plane en route from Berlin to Ankara late on Oct. 31 in an apparent reference to the possibility of the founding of an autonomous Kurdish entity in northern Syria.
“Barzani said there was not and will not be such a thing; moreover he tried to tell us that the Democratic Union of Kurdistan (PYD) is not the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK),” Erdoğan said, adding that they had warned the Iraqi Kurdish leader that in case of such an scenario in Syria Turkey’s stance would not be as it was for Iraq.
With the escalation of clashes in Syria, Kurdish groups in the country have also begun mobilizing in the north of Turkey’s neighbor. In a meeting with Barzani in July, 16 different Kurdish groups have agreed to stand together as part of the Syrian Kurdish National Council.
Yet, in a visit by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to Arbil, Ankara gave a warning to Iraqi Kurds that the mobilization in northern Syria of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), could lead to the establishment of another front for the PKK in its attacks against Turkey.
On the other hand, asked if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would stay in power longer than assumed, Erdoğan said, “Al-Assad is living in a dream world.”
He said no political government had stayed in power despite its people in history.
The prime minister said the opposition had been successfully carrying out an increasingly strengthening resistance over 20 months, and that many places had passed into its control.
The sole power in the hands of the regime was planes and helicopters, and the regime had been shooting its people with those, Erdoğan said. Humanity would not let al-Assad use chemical weapons, he added.
Turkey is continuing to ask for the involvement of NATO in the Syrian issue, Erdoğan said, adding that he had raised the issue recently during the meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“I told her that this trouble is at the same time NATO’s trouble.”
He told Merkel that Germany should keep sensitivity about the Syrian crisis on the agenda.
Asked about the opening of a “humanitarian aid corridor” in Syria, the prime minister said there was no humanitarian aid corridor but civil society groups were making efforts.
“NGOs can deliver humanitarian aid to some places in various ways. For example, I have learned that some NGOs in Germany provided sacrifices [for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha or Feast of the Sacrifice]. Probably, they sent the money and the slaughters were made there.”
Erdoğan, meanwhile, said he has been planning to visit Gaza along with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas if the conditions are ripe.