Ibrahim Kalin, a Turkish government spokesperson, described the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), the so-called Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as “legitimate targets” in an interview with Al Jazeera.
The PKK and YPG operate in Syria along the Turkish border and have been linked to the November 13th terrorist attack in Istanbul.
The attack was reportedly carried out by a Syrian national of Kurdish extraction linked to armed groups, though the PKK denied being involved.
As these organizations are non-state armed groups, Turkey has carried out air raids on these groups in Syria. The Turkish spokesman specified that the targets are armed, non-state actors, not standing armies: “We don’t target Russian or American soldiers or military posts in Syria or anywhere else,” Kalin specified.
The YPG has enjoyed some sympathy and support from the west, including the UK and US, with the ideal of an independent Kurdistan being lauded by western voices.
As the situation escalates following the November 13th attack, it seems Turkey will send ground troops to attack certain units of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that are constituted mainly of YPG fighters.