Kurdish leader threatens Turkey as ISIS continues Syria onslaught

Turkey passed a mandate for cross-border military operations in Syria and Iraq but has so far refused to join the military coalition against Islamic State.

October 11, 2014 19:16
2 minute read.
Turkish Kurds

Turkish Kurds look towards the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani from the top of a hill close to the border line between Turkey and Syria near Mursitpinar bordergate. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A senior Kurdish militant has threatened Turkey with a new Kurdish revolt if it sticks with its current policy of non-intervention in the battle for the Syrian town of Kobani.

Kurdish forces allied to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the People's Defense Units (YPG), are fighting against Islamic State insurgents attacking Kobani close to the Turkish border. Turkey is reluctant to open its border to allow arms to reach the out-gunned Kurds.

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Turkey passed a mandate for cross-border military operations in Syria and Iraq but has so far refused to join the military coalition against Islamic State or use force to protect Kobani and has resisted calls to allow the flow of weapons and volunteer fighters into the besieged town.

"We have warned Turkey. If they continue on this path, then the guerrillas will re-launch our defensive war to protect our people," Cemil Bayik, a founding member of the PKK who is also its most senior figure not in prison, told the German network ARD in Arbil in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region.

"The AK party is responsible for what is happening right now in Kobani and in Turkey," he added. The AK party rules Turkey.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, waged a 30-year revolt for autonomy in Turkey's rugged southeast.

Last year Bayik accused Turkey of waging a proxy war against Kurds in Syria by backing Islamist rebels fighting them in the north, threatening an end to the ceasefire that was called in March 2012 when the PKK's jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan ordered his rebel fighters to retreat from Turkey to Iraqi Kurdistan.

"Because Turkey has continued to pursue its policies without any changes, we have sent back all our fighters that were pulled out of Turkey," Bayik said.

Kurdish leaders in Syria have asked Ankara to establish a corridor through Turkey to allow aid and military supplies to reach Kobani where YPG is struggling against an Islamic State advance.

Bayik lambasted a Turkish mandate enabling the government to authorize cross-border military incursions into Iraq and Syria to battle Islamic State militants, saying it is designed to attack the PKK.

"This authorization barely mentions IS militants, but the PKK is very much mentioned. The authorization amounts to a declaration of war against the PKK. By approving this in parliament, Turkey has ended the peace process."

This past week more than 20 people died in riots in Turkey where Kurds rose up against the government for doing nothing to protect their kin in Syria.

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