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Turkey to thwart attempts to set up Kurdish state in Syria: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has underlined Turkey’s resolve to prevent any attempt by Syrian Kurdish fighters to establish a Kurdish state in northern Syria.

According to Press TV, in a Tuesday speech in Ankara, Erdogan described the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) as terror groups, noting, “We do not and will never allow a so-called state to be established by the PYD, YPG in northern Syria.”

“They want to establish a terror corridor in northern Syria reaching the Mediterranean,” he noted.

Erdogan reaffirmed Turkey’s determination to continue to fight against PYD and YPG “wherever we find them.”

The Syrian Kurdish fighters control two “cantons” in Syria’s northeast as well as the Afrin region to the west. Turkey says PYD and YPG are the affiliates of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered by Turkey, the US and EU as a terror group.

In August 2016, Turkey staged a cross-border operation in northern Syria, which Ankara said was aimed at purging the border zone of terrorists.

There have been speculations that Turkey may be planning to launch another operation against the YPG to push it out of the town of Afrin.

Erdogan’s remarks come amid Turkey’s opposition to a referendum on independence of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region scheduled to be held on September 25.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is scheduled to visit Iraq on Wednesday to discuss the issue with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad and then with Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani in Arbil.

Last week, delegations from Iraq’s ruling coalition, the National Alliance, and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) met in Baghdad to discuss the possibility of cancelling or delaying the referendum.

The Kurdish delegation reportedly held talks with Prime Minister Abadi, President Fuad Masum and other Iraqi leaders as well as the ambassadors of the United States, Iran and Turkey in Baghdad.

The visit came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson formally asked Massoud Barzani, the KRG president, to postpone the referendum.