Press Releases | May 27, 2022

TDP Statement on Turkish Government’s Decision to Launch a Military Operation in Northern Syria

(Washington, D.C.) — The Turkish Democracy Project (TDP) calls on the Turkish government to immediately cease its announced military operation in Northern Syria against US-backed Kurdish fighters. The operation will cause volatility and bloodshed in a region already plagued by instability.

Following a cabinet meeting yesterday in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that his government plans to launch a military operation in Syria to create a 30-kilometer “security zone” along the Syrian-Turkish border. If carried out, the operation will be the country’s fourth offensive launched into Syria against Syrian-Kurdish fighters since 2016. The US has already warned Turkey that the military operation would put US troops at risk and threaten the civilian population.

Turkey’s decision to invade northern Syria is merely the latest evidence of Ankara’s contempt and hostility towards the ethnic Kurdish population. Since Erdogan’s rise to power, Kurdish politicians and activists are routinely imprisoned due to their ethnicity, language and cultural heritage on trumped-up charges of terrorism. Turkey’s aggression against American-backed Kurdish fighters has created severe tension between Ankara and the United States, with the Kurds having proven themselves critical allies in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. 

Erdogan’s latest military incursion follows weeks of mounting tensions between Turkey and its NATO allies after Erdogan worked publicly to block the accession of Finland and Sweden to the alliance.

Commenting on Turkey’s decision to launch another offensive in Northern Syria, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, CEO of the Turkish Democracy Project said:

“We urge Turkey to immediately call off plans for a renewed bloody offensive in northern Syria. Such an attack will result in countless deaths, including innocent civilians, and will further degrade regional security. Turkey’s allies can no longer ignore Erdogan’s contempt for regional security, or his concerted effort to undermine NATO at a crucial moment for the alliance.”