At least 2,000 fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the People’s Protection Units were supporting Armenian forces in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on October 28.
The Turkish President made his remarks during the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, parliamentary group meeting in Ankara.
Erdogan said he had informed Russia’s president Vladimir Putin of the presence of Kurdish fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh during their recent phone call.
“I told Mr. President [Putin], we have identified, through intelligence sources, that there are some 2,000 PKK terrorists fighting for Armenia at the moment for $600. Mr. President said he was not aware of that,” the Daily Sabah quoted the Turkish president as saying, “I have told Putin that if our red lines are crossed, we would not hesitate to take action.”
Erdogan added that Turkey was sincere in its efforts to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and believed in Russia’s sincerity. He also revealed that he told President Putin that they could resolve the conflict together.
Turkey is supporting the ongoing Azerbaijani advance in Nagorno-Karabakh. More than 2,000 Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries are reportedly backing the attack.
During the meeting, the Turkish president also touched on the situation in Syria. The President said Turkey had the legitimate right to continue its action if militants are not cleared from its border with the war-torn country.
Erdogan was referring to Kurdish forces. In the last three years, Turkey launched two operations against these forces in northern and northeastern Syria.
“If the terrorists here are not cleared as we were promised, we have the legitimate right to mobilize once again,” Erdogan said, according to Reuters.
The Turkish President also voiced his concern over a recent Russian airstrike that targeted Turkish-backed militants in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib. At least 78 militants were killed and 90 others were injured in the airstrike.
“Russia’s strike targeting Syrian National Army forces’ training center in the region of Idlib is a sign that a lasting peace and calm in the region is unwanted,” said the president.
The Turkish military maintains a large force in Greater Idlib. The force is deployed in more than 60 positions, camps and bases throughout the region.
Turkey is heavily involved in the ongoing conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria and Libya. Erdogan’s remarks indicate that Turkey is planning to go on with its passive-aggressive policy in the region.
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