Erdogan Says No to Syrian Kurdistan

Erdogan Says No to Syrian KurdistanErdogan Says No to Syrian Kurdistan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country opposes the idea of a Kurdish-controlled autonomous government in northern Syria, local media reported on Tuesday.

“We do not want a new Iraq. What’s this? Northern Iraq,” Erdogan told the Hurriyet newspaper aboard a plane en route from an African tour at the weekend. He was referring to the Kurdish-controlled part of Iraq known as Iraqi Kurdistan.

“A northern Syria there after northern Iraq... It is not possible for us to accept this,” he said. “Such formations will lead to grave problems in the future,” AFP wrote.

His comments came as Kurdish militia drove the Islamic State of Iraq from the Syrian town of Kobane just across the Turkish border and raised their flags on Monday, in a heavy blow to IS militants after months of intensive fighting.

Kurdish forces gradually pushed back IS which has captured large chunks of territory in Iraq and Syria, with the help of the US-led air raids and a group of fighters from Iraq’s Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

Turkey, which has fought a 30-year insurgency against Kurdish rebels in its southeast, has hesitated to act for Kobane over fears it could embolden Kurdish forces.

Erdogan has in the past said that his country will not allow “a terrorist group to establish camps in northern Syria” and threaten Turkey.

Turkey has also refused to play a robust role in the US-led coalition against IS insurgency, prompting its own Kurds to take to streets in October.

Turkey’s main contribution to the coalition has been allowing a contingent of Iraqi Peshmerga Kurdish fighters to transit Turkish soil to fight IS militants for Kobane.