ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey does not intend to stop shelling Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in response to cross-border fire, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, adding that the United States should decide whether to back Turkey or the Kurdish terrorists.
The rapid advance of U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish terrorists, who are taking advantage of Russian air strikes in the region to seize territory near the Turkish border, has infuriated Ankara, which sees the Kurds as a terrorist organization. Turkey has been shelling YPG positions for days.
“Today our rules of engagement may be just about responding to an armed attack against our country, but tomorrow if necessary those rules can be expanded to cover every threat,” Erdogan said in a speech broadcast live.
“Nobody should doubt that. We will not allow the formation of a new ‘Qandil’ on our southern border,” he said, referring to the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq, where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has bases.
Erdogan said that ignoring the link between the Syrian Kurdish PYD and the PKK, which has fought a three-decade terrorism for greater Kurdish autonomy in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast, was a “hostile act.”