As the Turkish military enters the Kurdish-controlled Afrin region of Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday warned the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) not to take to the streets to protest the Turkish operation in Afrin, the Cumhurriyet daily reported.
“You are being closely followed. If you try to take to the streets, know that our security forces will be at your neck,” Erdoğan said, warning the HDP along with outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) members.
“If anyone is in the streets upon calls [from the HDP], they will pay dearly for it. This is a national fight, and whoever opposes us will be crushed.” Erdoğan added.
Underlining that Turkey’s goal is to return 3.5 million Syrian refugees to their homeland as soon as possible, Erdoğan said: “Afrin is 55 percent Arab and 35 percent Kurdish, who settled there recently. There are also around 6 to 7 percent Turkmens. The issue now is returning Afrin to its real owners.”