The leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main Kurdish political party in northern Syria, has warned on Friday that a win for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the upcoming elections would lead to further invasions of cross-border Kurdish territory.
Speaking to the North Press Agency, PYD leader Saleh Muslim stated that Erdoğan aimed to create a neo-Ottoman regional order, which would replace the former US President George W. Bush era Greater Middle East Project. The Turkish leader’s “neo-Ottoman vision” required an expansion into northern Iraq and Syria and the eradication of Kurds, he added.
Muslim believes that the war and the occupation of Kurdish lands led to Turkey’s political, economic, and diplomatic bankruptcy, as well as damaged relations with Europe and the United States. However, there are “no guarantees” that a loss for Erdoğan at the ballot box would prevent further invasion.
Despite the possibility of conflict, Muslim believes that an opposition victory could also lead to stability, a ceasefire, or a cessation of cross-border attacks and violations. He said that the opposition had a different approach, aiming to end the wars that have bankrupted Turkey and deal with its domestic Kurdish issue and that they might seek greater communication with the Syrian regime accordingly.
The PYD leader also stressed that they did not expect Turkey to hold meetings with the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in North and East Syria, even if the opposition were to come to power peacefully.
“But we also believe that there will be a path to a solution on Syria, which Erdoğan has stood in the way of,” he said. Since the opposition was seeking a political solution, they would not protest a solution in Syria, Muslim concluded.
Erdoğan has pushed for a 30-kilometre-deep security corridor along Syria and Iraq’s border with Turkey, which includes Syria’s Kurdish-majority areas, known as Rojava in Kurdish. Turkey has launched several ground incursions into Syria to fulfil this objective, including the regions of Afrin (Efrîn) and Ras al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê). In Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkish forces have established a military presence 30 kilometres deep into the country, with one base almost 90 kilometres from the Turkish border.