Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is considering a military intervention into northern Syria, but to prevent the Kurdish gains, not atrocities by ISIL.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is considering a military intervention into northern Syria, but to prevent the Kurdish gains, not atrocities by the Takfiri group, ISIL (so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant), Turkish media reported.
Both pro and anti-government media outlets reported that the president and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had decided to send the Turkish army into Syria, despite concerns among his own generals and possible criticism from Washington and other NATO allies.
In a speech last Friday, Erdogan vowed that Turkey would not accept a move by Syrian Kurds to set up their own state in Syria following gains by Kurdish fighters against the ISIL.
“I am saying this to the whole world: We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria,” Erdogan said.
“We will continue our fight in that respect whatever the cost may be.” He accused Syrian Kurds of ethnic cleansing in Syrian areas under their control.
Both the daily Yeni Safak, a mouthpiece of the government, and the newspaper Sozcu, which is among Erdogan’s fiercest critics, ran stories saying the Turkish Army had received orders to send soldiers over the border.
Several other media, including the Hürriyet daily, had similar stories, all quoting unnamed sources in Ankara. There has been no official confirmation or denial by the government.
The reports also said that up to 18,000 ground forces, air support and artillery would reportedly cross the border into Syria on a stretch of land spanning from the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani in the east to the town of Mare.
The strip of land is currently a battleground between Kurdish fighters and ISIL militants.
The Turkish government has neither confirmed nor denied the reports.
According to the Hürriyet daily, the government gave the order after a series of talks hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the wake of the seizure of the town of Tel Abyad by Syrian Kurdish forces earlier this month.
It has also been reported that the Turkish General Staff, concerned about risks, refused to accept verbal orders, insisting on written instructions.