West has no chance of stopping refugee influx – Turkish President Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan © Adem Altan
Western countries have no chance of stopping the influx of refugees from Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. He also pledged to continue shelling Syrian Kurds and criticized the West for supporting Kurdish organizations.

“No matter that the West acts in a rough, inhuman and unscrupulous way, they cannot control the refugee influx,” Erdogan said on Wednesday as cited by Anadolu News.

“There has to be a consensus immediately on finding a resolution to the Syrian issue,” he added.

On November 29, Turkey and the EU conducted a summit during which it was agreed that Turkey would help stem the flow of refugees to Europe in return for €3 billion ($3.18bn) of support, the reestablishing of talks on EU accession and lifting visa requirements for Turkish citizens in the Schengen Area by October 2016.

The Turkish President also called on Western countries to recognize Syrian Kurdish organizations the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People's Protection Units (YPG) as terrorist.

“Both the PYD and the YPG are the organizations of the Assad regime,” he said as cited by Anadolu News adding that the West should understand that there is no difference between the PYD, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and other terrorist organizations such as Islamic State (IS, formerly, ISIS/ISIL).

Once again the Turkish president called on the US to make a choice between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds.

“The fact that the United States is continuing to support the YPG is something I find hard to understand. Aren’t we NATO allies? Are you our friend or the friend of the PYD?” Erdogan said.

“We know that we need friends. But if you don’t see us as friends then please say it loud and clear,” he added.

Erdogan also said that Turkey has no intention of stopping the shelling of Syrian Kurds.

“They [the West] tell us to stop shelling the Kurdish fighters in Syria. Forgive me, but there is no question of us doing such a thing. Whoever fires shells on Turkey will get not just a tit-for-tat response but an even greater one,” Erdogan said as cited by Anadolu.

“Nobody should doubt that. We will not allow the formation of a new 'Qandil' on our southern border,” he said referring to the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq where the PKK has its military bases.

Turkey has been shelling the Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria since Saturday saying that it launched artillery attacks in retaliation to fire coming from the region.

The bombardments received a harsh rebuke from both western countries and Russia.

“It’s an absolutely unacceptable situation – what’s going on there on the Turkish-Syrian border. Syria complained to the Security Council, and provided all the materials on this issue. We will definitely support raising this issue in the Security Council,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told RT on Monday.

The US and France also expressed their concern about the Turkish shelling and called all parties to cease the fire. On Tuesday the UN Security council condemned Turkish attacks.

“UN Security Council members are concerned with the Turkish attacks on a number of Syrian regions,” Venezuelan Ambassador Rafael Ramirez, who is now head of the Security Council, said after the meeting, as cited by TASS.

"All members of the Security Council ... agreed to ask for Turkey to comply with international law," he added.