Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) is trying to create a corridor to the Mediterranean Sea in northern Syria, warning that Turkey will not allow this at any cost, the Habertürk daily reported on Wednesday.
“Afrin [a Kurdish canton in northern Syria] is indeed a PYD project to reach the Mediterranean Sea. We will not permit a terror corridor in northern Syria having access to the Mediterranean. We will intervene whatever the cost,” said Erdoğan on the presidential plane while returning from a visit to Jordan late on Tuesday, saying that the issue was on the table during a visit by Iranian Chief of General Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri to Ankara last week.
“Afrin is a very important region. A border with Turkey on one side, access to İdlib on the other. We will not show any flexibility in this region.”
Underlining Turkey’s opposition to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) decision to hold an independence referendum on Sept. 25, Erdoğan said: ” I have sent my intel chief [National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan] to Baghdad and Arbil. [Turkish Foreign Minister] Mr. Mevlüt [Çavuşoğlu] will be in Baghdad on Wednesday and will go to Arbil later. This referendum means the division of Iraq.”
“It means that we are on the right path. If they attack this poor [Erdoğan] so much, it means we are doing good things. They [German politicians] will continue like that until the elections in Germany. After the elections, they may look for ways to do good things with Turkey, or they may start to wait for the results of the 2019 elections in Turkey,” said Erdoğan in response to questions about recent critical statements from German leaders targeting the Turkish government and Erdoğan himself.
Despite warnings from Berlin “not to interfere in [Germany’s] internal affairs,” Turkish President Erdoğan last week called on Turks living in Germany not to vote for parties treating Turkey as an enemy.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Friday reacted to Erdoğan’s calls on Turks living in Germany not to vote for parties of the ruling coalition and called it “an unprecedented attack on German sovereignty.”
German Chancellor Merkel also said she would not tolerate any interference in the German elections.