Turkey must launch Syria operation ‘even if its suicide’ – Islamist chief editor

An influential Turkish columnist has said that Turkey must launch an operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, even if this turns into a suicide mission.

İbrahim Karagül, the chief editor of the pro-government Islamist daily Yeni Şafak newspaper, said the 2003 Iraq war and the ongoing Syrian conflict were two parts of a master plan by dark powers that would target Turkey next, and it was essential for Turkey to resist it by launching an attack.

Turkey has been hashing out a deal mediated by the United States to create what it calls a safe zone inside Syria along its border by securing the withdrawal of Kurdish groups that Ankara views as terrorists.

The People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its affiliates have fought in the U.S.-backed international coalition against the Islamic State, and now control a large territory in north and east Syria.

But Turkey says it will not accept the presence on its border of groups linked to militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who have fought the Turkish state for Kurdish self-rule since 1984.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday his government would begin creating a safe zone east of the River Euphrates “according to our wishes” by the end of the month, and would then settle 1 million Syrian refugees in the area.

But Karagül warned that “no agreement would be honoured” by the United States, which he said was trying to redraw the map of the region by supporting the Kurdish autonomous region.

“If this map is to be prevented, it must be prevented in Syria today. For this isn’t as people suppose a ‘map’ that is limited only to the PKK, but a global reckoning,” Karagül said.

“This is not a terror threat, but a multinational threat. The way of combatting it must be far beyond that employed against terrorism, it means confronting a very immediate multinational threat,” he said.

Turkey’s anger at the United States over its support of the YPG is one of several grievances that have deepened the rift between the NATO allies this year.

A concrete sign of Ankara’s drift away from its Western allies came in July, when Turkey received its first shipments of Russian-built S-400 missile defence systems, a purchase that has also driven the allies apart.

But Karagül said it was not only the United States, but also France and Turkey’s regional rivals in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that were supporting the Kurdish groups to Turkey’s detriment.

“There must be an intervention before the project comes to fruition. Two years ago I wrote on numerous occasions that we had to intervene ‘even if it means suicide’. I’m still of the same opinion,” he said.

While Karagül is known for frequently spinning wild conspiracy theories in his column, his is an influential Islamist newspaper that often serves as a bellwether for the ruling Justice and Development Party’s policy plans. He is also a frequent member of Erdoğan’s entourage.