Speaking at a ceremony for relatives of martyrs and army veterans in Ankara, Erdogan said Turkey would not allow a PKK presence in the northern Iraqi region of Sinjar.
“We will go on this [Operation Euphrates Shield] campaign in Syria and Iraq, and now in Kirkuk, Mosul, Tal Afar and Sinjar. Why? Sinjar is about to be the new Qandil [for PKK]. Thus, we cannot allow it to happen in Sinjar, because there is PKK there.”
Qandil Mountain has served as a headquarters for the PKK in northern Iraq.
Erdogan also warned that a Shia-Turkmen division had started in Tal Afar and added:
“We don’t want this. I call on Tal Afar: Leave this sectarian conflict aside, Islam is above all sects. Come together in Islam.”
“We will never allow any development in Syria and Iraq which will pose a threat for our future,” Erdogan went on to say.
Erdogan proceeded to draw the new route of Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria and said the Free Syrian Army, with the support of Turkey, had retaken Jarabulus, Al-Rai and Dabiq.
“There are almost 30,000 people in Jarabulus now; they moved back to their hometown. We constructed their hospitals, schools and roads so that Jarabulus people can start a decent life there,” Erdogan added.
“Now we are on the way to Al-Bab because Al-Bab is an important headquarters for [Daesh]. They will leave Al-Bab and the campaign will go on. We will head to Manbij and Raqqa.”
– Euphrates Shield
Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield was launched in late August to clear Syria’s northern border area of terrorists. It is now in its 65th day.
Operation Euphrates Shield has seen both Daesh and the PKK/PYD terrorist groups targeted by the opposition Free Syrian Army plus Turkish tanks, artillery and aircraft.
Erdogan confirmed he had a phone call with U.S. President Barrack Obama on Wednesday night and said he had shared these steps with him.
“We don’t need PYD-YPG terror organizations. The PYD and PKK are all the same in Raqqa,” he said. “We said: ‘Let’s clear Daesh from Raqqa with you. We can deal with it together.’ We have this power.”
The PKK and its Syrian offshoot the PYD are both listed as terrorist groups by Turkey although the U.S. and EU only view the PKK as a terrorist organization.
Speaking about the July 15 coup attempt, Erdogan said it had shown the owners of the country were the Turkish people.
“In my opinion, one of the most important messages of July 15 is this: We have been such a country for 200 years that has searched for answers to these questions: ‘Who is the owner of this country?’ […]. We found the answers on July 15. The owners of the country are the people,” he said.
Erdogan said there would be no pity for those who were involved in or supported, directly or indirectly, the coup attempt.