In a controversial statement, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on October 25 that northeastern Syria is suitable for Arab people to live, but not Kurdish people.
“What is important is to prepare a controlled life in this enormous area, and the most suitable people for it are Arabs. These areas are not suitable for the lifestyle of Kurds … because these areas are virtually desert,” Erdogan said in an interview with Turkish television channel TRT, according to al-Arabiya.
President Erdogan was defending Operation Peace Spring that was launched earlier in October by the Turkish military and its Syrian proxies against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria’s northeastern region.
While the new statement turned into a controversial issue, Erdogan vowed to resettle at least one million Syrian refugees in the region once its cleared from Kurdish forces even earlier.
For weeks now, officials of the SDF have been warning from “demographic change” and “ethnic cleansing” in northeast Syria. Most of the border areas where Ankara is working to establish its “safe-zone” are indeed Kurdish-majority areas.