Erdogan Planning Turkish Invasion of Syria?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday chaired a top security meeting as media speculated that Ankara was planning a military intervention in Syria, following gains there by Kurds against the jihadists.

The regular National Security Council meeting came days after Erdogan said he would "never allow" the formation of a Kurdish state along Turkey's southern borders, reported the AFP news agency.

A statement issued after the four-hour meeting said that the members had "thoroughly assessed" the events taking place in Syria as well as "possible threats" and "additional security measures" along the border.

"Concerns have been voiced over actions targeting the civilians in the region and aimed at changing the region's demographic structure," said the council, which brings together top military officials, according to AFP.

On Saturday, two days after an attack by Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists that left more than 200 civilians dead, Kurdish forces drove the terrorists out of Kobane — a highly symbolic border town which Kurds had wrested from ISIS in January.

The ISIS attack was widely seen as vengeance for a series of defeats at the hands of Kurdish militia, particularly the jihadists' loss of Tal Abyad, another border town further east, on June 16.

The Kurds' advance has alarmed Turkish officials, who accuse the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) of seeking to unite Kurdish-majority areas of Syria and fear the growing power of Kurdish forces there will embolden Turkey's 15-million strong Kurdish minority.

Kurdish forces now control around 400 kilometers (250 miles) of contiguous border territory from Kobane in Aleppo province to northeastern Syria.

"I say to the international community that whatever price must be paid, we will never allow the establishment of a new state on our southern frontier in the north of Syria," Erdogan said Friday, according to AFP.

Turkish media subsequently speculated that Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had earlier in the week asked the military to send soldiers into Syria.

The press claimed that the military high command demanded a written order from the new government, which is yet to be formed after recent elections.

The pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper said the operation would involve around 18,000 ground forces, artillery and air support on a stretch of land spanning from Kobane in the east to an area further west held by the rebel Free Syrian Army.

Davutoglu warned Sunday that Ankara would take "necessary measures" against security threats on its borders, saying "our country is prepared for any eventuality".

Last week, Turkey rejected as "black propaganda" claims that ISIS jihadists crossed from Turkey to carry out deadly bombings and raids on Kobane.

Claims circulating on the Internet suggested several cars loaded with ISIS members passed through the Mursitpinar border crossing in Turkey to make their way into Kobane.

"The claim that Daesh militants passed through the Turkish border is entirely a lie and part of a black propaganda," Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said in a message on Twitter, using an Arabic term for ISIS.

Erdogan later dismissed the claims as "defamation and propaganda" and added, "No one has the right to link Turkey to terrorist organizations".

AFP contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/197468

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