Turkey is building up military forces on the Syrian border, while Turkish President Recep Erdogan steps up his rhetoric suggesting an imminent military operation into Syria. Ankara is reportedly courting Moscow for its support for a possible operation into Syria's Afrin enclave, which is now under the control of the Kurdish YPG militia.
Ankara accuses the YPG, which controls large swathes of Syrian territory along its border, of being an offshoot of the PKK, which is fighting the Turkish state.
We will take important steps to implement the new campaigns in the near future, Erdogan declared Saturday to cheering supporters in the Turkish city of Malatya. We would rather pay the price for foiling plans targeting our future and liberty in Syria and Iraq, than on our own soil.
The prospect of a military operation has been praised across Turkey's pro-government media. "Our greatest advantage is the leadership of a president who sees this threat exactly ... and responds to it courageously, both by discourse and by action, wrote Mehmet Acer in the staunchly pro-Erdogan Yeni Safak. He welcomed "this new attack-based security approach, which we define as the 'Erdogan doctrine'.
Erdogan is courting nationalist voters, with one eye on looming presidential and parliamentary elections which could be held as early as next year.
The rising political rhetoric has been matched by a reported surge in attacks against the YPG in Afrin by elements of the Turkish backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Source: Voice of America