After repeat threats over the past weeks, Turkey looks to finally make good on its threat to unilaterally invade Syria after its end of September deadline for the United States to assist in jointly establishing a 'safe zone' has passed.
“We may suddenly arrive one night,” Erdogan told reporters after a speech to parliament in Ankara on Tuesday, referring to a possible cross-border offensive in northeast Syria. “We have tried every means, with great patience, to solve this problem together with our allies... Turkey doesn’t have a single day left to lose on this issue,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish lira weakened on the news for the second day ahead of the possible cross border offensive, which would inevitably lead to direct clashes with US proxy forces in Syria's northeast, especially the Kurdish YPG arm of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Last week at the UN General Assembly President Erdogan presented his plan to set up a massive 300 mile long 'safe zone' along the border, which would be almost 20 miles deep into Syrian territory, where with international support Turkey would resettle up to 2 million refugees.
Turkey's allies and foes alike, however, have immediately recognized the likely ethnic cleansing and dramatic demographic shift that would unfold under the Turkish plan. As Reuters has noted:
But Turkey’s new emphasis on the refugee transfer, which would move large numbers of Sunni Arab Syrians into a traditionally Kurdish heartland, could face resistance from allies opposed to changing the region’s demographic balance.
The Turkish and allied administered territory would be off limits to US-backed YPG/SDF, which Ankara sees as a terror arm of the PKK, something which has remained a key deal-breaker for Washington.
“Someone is trying to have us kneel down through terrorism and the burden of refugees,” Erdogan added during his Tuesday evening remarks. He said Turkey will never accept such a “fait accompli and blackmail” against it; however, Erdogan is the one recently issuing public threats of blackmail.
Early last month he warned that if his plan weren't implemented he would flood Europe with Syrian refugees: "We will be forced to open the gates. We cannot be forced to handle the burden alone," he said at the time, and has since repeated.