Erdogan Says Turkey Can't Remain Spectator To Looming Aleppo Offensive
July 28, 2012 • 7:21PM

Following a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan again made threatening comments on the situation in Syria. "There is a build-up in Aleppo and the recent statements, with respect to the use of weapons of mass destruction, are actions that we cannot remain an observer or spectator to," he said at a joint news conference in London with the British Prime Minister. "Steps need to be taken jointly within the United Nations Security Council, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab League, and we must work together to try to overcome the situation," said Erdogan.

Cameron said Britain and Turkey were concerned that Bashar Assad's government was about to carry out some "some truly appalling acts around and in the city of Aleppo. This would be completely unacceptable. This regime needs to realize it is illegitimate, it is wrong and it needs to stop what it is doing," Cameron said.

Meanwhile Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met in Ankara with Syrian Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlas, who recently defected from the Syrian regime. The meeting also included Hakan Fidan, the National Intelligence Organization's (MIT) undersecretary, and Halit Cevik, a Foreign Ministry deputy undersecretary who knew Tlas during his term as Turkey's ambassador to Syria. Davutoglu said he and Tlas had discussed at length plans for a post-Assad administration in Syria.

Davutoglu also said that Kurds in Iraq and Syria are not a threat to Turkey, but emphasized that Ankara would not allow what he called "terrorist" groups like the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) or al-Qaeda to establish a presence in Syria near the Turkish border, claiming that fears about a Kurdish region in Syria were "baseless."

From reading both the pro- and anti-government Turkish press, it seems not many others believe these fears are "baseless." There was another commentary in Hürriyet critical of the government with the title, "Regional Developments Strengthen the PKK'S Hand." He warns that the regional situation is playing into the hands of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). It writes that Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani's support for the Syrian Kurds, could lead to uniting the Kurdish Regional Government in Northern Iraq with the Kurdish-dominated region in Syria. The author warns that the U.S. is backing for Kurds in Iran, using bases in Iraq, (which is already occurring) in order to "punish Iran," all of which "will get us one step closer to Greater Kurdistan."

Even Today's Zaman, which is usually very favorable to the government, is filled with commentaries expressing uneasiness at the developing situation. Of particular concern was the signing of the "Arbil Agreement" among various Syrian Kurdish groups, including the PKK-linked Democratic Union Party (PYD) which has now been brought into the Kurdish National Council of Syrian Kurds. The agreement, which was brokered by Barzani on July 12, without consulting the Turkish government, allows for the training of 2,000 Kurdish "peshmergas" fighters to be sent into Syria to fight to protect and secure the Kurdish regions in Syria. Furthermore the PYD, had been supported by the Syrian government in the past and is now not only betraying Damascus, but is consolidating its position in Syria, which could also be used by the PKK as a base against Turkey.