President Bashar Assad, facing a growing rebel presence in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its commercial hub, has turned control of parts of northern Syria over to militant Kurds who Turkey has long branded as terrorists, prompting concern that Istanbul might see the development as a reason to send troops across its border with Syria.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in comments late Wednesday, said that Turkey would not accept an entity in northern Syria governed by the Iraq-based Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has long waged a guerrilla war against Turkey, and its Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party.
He said the two groups had built a “structure in northern Syria” that for Turkey means “a structure of terror.”
“It is impossible for us to look favorably at such a structure,” he said in an interview with a private television channel.
He warned that if Syrian Kurdish militants mount a terror operation or some other form of cross-border provocation against Turkey, “then intervening would be our most natural right.”