Is the reason behind the current war between Ankara and the Kurds in Southeastern Turkey Erdogan's ‘Kurdophobia'? Abd Salam Ali, a representative of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), recently said Erdogan "suffers from Kurdophobia." How true are his words? Sputnik looked at Erdogan's past quotes and actions to find out whether the Turkish president is a true Kurd-hater.
It's no secret that Erdogan calls the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and all other Kurdish groups "terrorists."
The president vowed Turkey would continue its "anti-terrorist" operation in the south-eastern part of Turkey until everyone who's fight against Turkey or even supports Kurds "will be buried in the trenches they have dug."
Although Kurdish leaders state numerous times that all they want is to have some level of self-governance and autonomy, Erdogan believes Kurds want to break away from Turkey under the disguise of autonomy and self-governance.
Erdogan said Turkey would do whatever is necessary to eliminate Kurdish "terrorism" and Ankara doesn't want to hear anybody's opinion about what to do with Kurds and how the ongoing confrontation could be solved using negotiations and other peaceful measures.
"Turkey doesn't need permission from anyone — we will do what is necessary," Erdogan said, showing that he would confront even Washington's demands when it comes to the Kurdish issue.
Last week, Erdogan lost his wits after finding out that the US government sent an envoy to the Syrian city of Kobani, currently controlled by Syrian Kurds. Washington's representative Brett McGurk went to Kobani to speak with leaders of the military-wing of the PYD.
"How can we trust you? Is it me that is your partner or is it the terrorists in Kobani?" Erdogan said.
Bloody Statistics of Turkish-Kurdish Conflict
The conflict between the Turkish government and Kurds started in 1984. Since then over 40,000 people have been killed because of it.
In 2015, around 3,100 PKK members were killed in Turkey. Since tensions escalated in July 2015, Turkish forces have been engaged in a full-blown war with the PKK.
Between August 16, 2015 and January 10, 2016 in 19 districts across the provinces of Diyarbakir, Sirnak, Mardin and Hakkari, a total of 58 curfews were imposed by the Turkish government. Over this period, 162 innocent civilians were killed by Turkish forces, according to the Turkish Foundation for human rights.
Late last week, Turkish forces killed 60 people in the basement of a building in the town of Cizre during a military raid.
The Kurds, Turkey's largest ethnic minority, are striving to create their own independent state. The PKK was founded in the late 1970s to promote the self-determination for the Kurdish community.