Türkiye blasts PKK/YPG's 'unacceptable election' plans in Syria - M5 Dergi
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Türkiye blasts PKK/YPG’s ‘unacceptable election’ plans in Syria

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Defense chief Güler says the terrorists’ plans for so-called elections in northern Syria bordering Türkiye threaten the national security and territorial integrity of the two neighbors, warns Ankara won’t allow any “fait accompli”

Defense Minister Yaşar Güler on Monday blasted plans by the PKK terrorist group’s Syrian offshoot, the YPG, to conduct so-called local elections in the country’s north as “unacceptable” and a threat to Türkiye’s national security.

Türkiye considers the move as a step by the PKK/YPG toward achieving an “autonomous” status first in Syria before moving to the next stage of its plan: an independent state.

After decades of a bloody campaign for a so-called Kurdish state encompassing Türkiye and Iraq, the PKK strives for legitimacy in Syria’s north, notably with a so-called local election in the coming months in regions controlled by the PKK/YPG.

In a written reply to questions from The Associated Press (AP), Güler reiterated Türkiye’s commitment to establishing a secure corridor along its borders with Syria and Iraq to counter the threat posed by PKK/YPG terrorists.

The PKK/YPG terrorist group, which occupies northern and eastern parts of Syria, has announced plans to hold municipal elections on June 11. The vote to choose mayors will be held in the provinces of Hassakeh, Raqqa, Deir el-Zour and the eastern part of Aleppo province near the Turkish border. Residents in these regions, however, also reject the PKK/YPG’s plans, with dozens taking to the streets last week in protests.

“It is not possible to accept such a situation,” Güler said. “The so-called election efforts that threaten the territorial integrity of Syria will negatively affect peace and tranquility in the region.”

“We will not allow any fait accompli that is to the detriment of our national security and the territorial integrity of our neighbors,” he added. He did not elaborate on what action Türkiye could take if the PKK/YPG proceeds with the elections.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week said Türkiye was “closely” monitoring actions against Syria’s territorial integrity and vowed Ankara would “not allow a ‘terroristan’ across our southern border, in Syria’s north. We did what we should have done and will not hesitate to retake action.”

Türkiye has launched a series of major cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 to drive away the PKK/YPG from its border and now controls parts of northern Syria.

Turkish jets, drones and artillery now regularly target PPK/YPG terrorists, and in northern Iraq, where the PKK has a foothold.

The PKK, which has led a decadeslong bloody insurgency against Türkiye, is considered a terror organization by Türkiye and its Western allies. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since the 1980s.

Güler told the AP that 63% of Türkiye’s border with Syria border was currently “under control.”

“We are fully determined to create a 30-40-kilometer (19-24-mile) deep security corridor along our borders with Iraq and Syria,” Güler said. “Our aim is to eliminate the attacks and threats by members of the terrorist organization from the other side of the border against our citizens and troops.”

Türkiye was now carrying out “continuous and comprehensive” operations against the PKK, instead of launching offensives like it did in the past, which he said were limited in terms of “targets and time.”

Güler also hailed greater security cooperation from Baghdad, which earlier in the year issued a ban on the PKK, although it stopped short of designating it a terrorist organization.

“For the first time, Iraq sees the PKK as not only Türkiye’s problem but also its own problem,” Güler said. “We expect it to be declared a terror organization in the shortest time possible.”

Touching on efforts by Türkiye to modernize its air force, Güler said Türkiye and the U.S. were closer to concluding the procedures to Türkiye, following the Turkish government’s ratification of Sweden’s membership in NATO.

Türkiye requested to buy the F-16s in 2020 after its expulsion from the U.S.-led F-35 stealth jet program over its purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.

Güler said talks with the United States over Türkiye’s potential return to the F-35 project were continuing but he ruled out any possibility of Türkiye disposing of the S-400s.

“It is out of the question for the S-400s, which we procured within the scope of our country’s long-range regional air and missile defense system needs, to be given to another country,” Güler said.

Turkey is also engaged in talks with the United Kingdom and Spain to buy Eurofighters jets, although Germany has objected to the sale.

“It is unacceptable for us to be subjected to export restrictions by our allies,” Güler said. “These restrictions not only affect us but also the capability and defense investment targets that NATO has set for the allies.”

He said the initial batch of 20 of Türkiye’s indigenous TF-X Kaan fighter jets, which completed its second test flight last month, would be integrated into the Turkish air force between 2027 and 2029.

Source: Daily Sabah

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