BREAKING:  Erdogan threatens new military incursion to Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Monday to launch a new military operation in Syria to secure Turkey’s southern border, Al Arabiya reported Monday evening.


Speaking following a Cabinet meeting, Erdogan said the aim of the operation would be resume Turkish efforts to create a 30-kilometer (20 mile) safe zone along its border with Syria.


“We will soon take new steps regarding the incomplete portions of the project we started on the 30-km deep safe zone we established along our southern border,” Erdogan said.


Erdogan did not provide further details but said the operation would begin after Turkey’s military, intelligence and security forces complete their preparations.  The proposal will be debated in Thursday’s National Security Council meeting, bringing top military and civilian leaders together, and nominally still the top foreign policy decision making body in the state.


Turkish forces have launched three major incursions into northern Syria, taking control of areas along the border in a bid to secure its frontier from threats from the ISIS group and Kurdish militia group, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG.


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Turkey views the group as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK which is listed as a terror group by Turkey, the US and the European Union. The PKK has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict.


Erdogan’s comments come at a time when Turkey is objecting to Sweden and Finland’s membership in the NATO alliance, citing the two countries alleged support for the PKK and other groups that Turkey views as terrorists, as well as their decision to impose restrictions on military sales to Turkey following Ankara’s incursion into Syria in 2019.



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PATurkey speculates that if a new military campaign is launched, its objective would be to attract Islamist-nationalist votes back to AKP-MHP, some of which had deserted the parties in the face of deepening poverty and skyrocketing inflation.  Erdogan may also want to exploit Russia’s waning interest in Syria because of the  Ukraine War  and stop deepening Iranian influence.


Whatever the objectives might be, the campaign if initiated would be extremely risky, because it will target Syrian Kurds, which are the sole allies of US in the country, and supported by the public opinion in Europe. Additionally, losses of Kurdish lives could cost AKP the remaining Kurdish votes, which are likely to migrate to pro-Kurdish Rights HDP and the center-left CHP.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.