Turkey has been watching with deep concern as Kurdish militants have been slowly consolidating power in areas bordering Turkey in northern Syria and preparing to declare their own autonomous state.
Where do they stand?
Turkey’s long, troubled relationship with Kurds is fuelling Ankara’s fears that the PYD presence in northern Syria could be a destabilizing factor inside Turkey.Mahir Zeynalov
Turkey, however, is anxious. Ankara openly warned Syrian Kurds against exploiting the turmoil in Syria and creating their own state. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said last Friday that only a Syrian Parliament, freely elected by the people, can decide on the future structure of Syria and that Turkey won’t allow fait accompli across the border.
It made it very clear that it is ready to take any measure, including a military one, to avert a PYD-orchestrated security threat from northern Syria. Davutoğlu reiterated last week that Ankara will immediately retaliate against any threats from other side of the Syrian border. Until today, the military’s response was limited to attacks that came from Syria, which killed one Turkish citizen and injured several last week. Almost every day, the Turkish army has been involved in border skirmishes with gunmen in Syria.
Turkey's red line is PYD’s unilateral move to establish a state by exploiting the current situation in the country. It remains unclear, however, if Turkey will get involved in full-scale military incursion into northern Syria if PYD forms its own separate political entity and starts posing a security threat to Turkey.
Mahir Zeynalov is an Istanbul-based journalist with English-language daily Today's Zaman. He is also the managing editor of the Caucasus International magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @MahirZeynalovSHOW MORE