PKK: An Excuse for Turkish Invasion of Syria?

PKK's Sudden Support for Assad Changes the Equation

Is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)’s sudden support for Syrian President Bashar Assad an excuse for Turkey to invade Syria, or a risk so great it might convince Turkey not to launch a planned incursion to create a buffer zone?

Since PKK commander Murat Karaylian’s recent comments, promising to turn “all of Kurdistan into a war zone” if Turkey invades, the speculation about a Turkish ground invasion of Syria has centered entirely around the Kurds.

A complicated situation made moreso – Turkey is accusing Assad, a long-time Turkish ally, of using the PKK as an auxiliary wing against the rebel forces. Yet Turkey’s backing of the SNC and FSA rebel factions was in many ways a cynical effort to tamp down calls for Kurdish autonomy in Syrian Kurdistan by replacing Assad with a more populist Sunni Arab faction.

In many ways, the PKK’s insinuation into events is exactly what Turkey wanted, a direct Kurds versus Sunni Arabs battle. Yet the Turkish-backed rebels are losing the civil war quickly, and the oft-threatened direct Turkish invasion threatens to make the PKK violence inside Turkey itself dramatically worse, a risk it seems they can ill afford to take.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of