Erdogan Speaks of Kobane Plot

Erdogan Speaks of Kobane PlotErdogan Speaks of Kobane Plot

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said there is a “plot within a plot” when it comes to the embattled Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane that was probably designed by a mind greater than the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main Syrian Kurdish group that is defending it.

Kobane has been besieged by the IS militants for more than a month. Turkey, for its part, has said it will allow Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces to cross into Kobane via its land to boost the defense of the town, located on the border with Turkey, which has opened yet another rift between Turkey and the US, with Erdogan questioning the strategic significance of the town for Washington and criticizing US airdrops of weapons and supplies to PYD forces as “wrong,” Today’s Zaman wrote.

Erdogan’s announcement last week that some 1,300 fighters of the anti-Syrian militants Free Syrian Army (FSA) will go to Kobane to repel IS forces later became controversial, with the PYD saying that no such deal has been reached yet.

Speaking to a group of journalists en route to Turkey from a trip to Estonia on Saturday, Erdogan said the PYD was reluctant to accept help from both the FSA and the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces. He said the arrival of FSA fighters in Kobane “will foil the plot of the PYD,” who he added eventually later agreed to help.

“We need to think hard about this: There is probably another mind behind this set up and trap. I don’t think the PYD has a mentality strong enough to design it,” Erdogan said, in remarks published on Sunday.

When asked to elaborate on what plot he is referring to, Erdogan said: “You will find it out. There is probably a greater mastermind here. I don’t want to get into a discussion on whether Kobane is Kurdish or Arab. But if you look at the facts of the matter, its name -- it’s quite telling -- is Ayn al-Arab. It later turned into Kobane. Now, developments there are disturbing them [the US]; this is a different matter. When asked whether this is of strategic importance for you, nothing is said [in reply]. What is being said instead? It is said that IS will be able to say, ‘I won a victory against the coalition,’ if Kobane falls. This is a very dangerous approach. Why don’t you think the same way when Idlib or Raqqa fall? … When IS advances to within 30-40 kilometers of Arbil -- there are Kurds there, too -- why don’t you ask the question, ‘What happens if Arbil falls?’”

When asked why he thinks the fate of Kobane has become so important, he said: “It is too early to talk about this. But the game being played out on our borders is not a simple one.”