"As long as the dynamic forces exist, those who dream of dividing Turkey will wake up to a nightmare," Büyükanýt told a meeting of Turks living in the United States during a visit.
"They will get their lesson. We must have faith in this. No one can dare to divide Turkey." Büyükanýt did not name any specific sources threatening the division of Turkey but his comments were interpreted as targeting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Iraqi Kurds. The PKK has bases in the mountains of northern Iraq and Turkey is pressing the United States and Iraq to take measures to deal with the problem.
The government has recently intensified it rhetoric, saying Turkey might consider a cross-border operation into Iraq if its demands for action against the PKK go unheeded.
Ankara is also worried about the fate of Kirkuk, the disputed oil-rich city in northern Iraq which is home to an ethnically-mixed population of Turkmens, Kurds and Arabs. Turkish officials say a referendum on status of the city, slated for the end of this year, should be postponed because Kurds have migrated to the city over the past few years in what Ankara sees as a systematic effort to change the demographic structure of Kirkuk ahead of the vote.
Büyükanýt said the problems of the PKK presence in Iraq and the issue of protecting Iraq's territorial integrity were interrelated. He added Turkey should go ahead with a "consistent and future-looking" policy while it deals with those problems.
The top military commander was expected to raise Turkey's concerns with the situation in Iraq in talks with US Vice President Dick Cheney and Stephen Hadley, the national security advisor for President George W. Bush.
Büyükanýt's visit to the United States comes just days after Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül voiced Turkish concerns during a week-long visit. The United States has appointed a special envoy in charge of coordinating US efforts to counter the PKK threat, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan expressed unease about the measure, saying it has not produced visible outcomes.
In a speech frequently interrupted by cheers, Büyükanýt also reiterated that Turkey was faced with serious problems and threats stemming from instability in its region, citing the volatile situation in Iraq, the Caucasus and Cyprus.
"As I said before, the Republic of Turkey has never faced threats, risks and difficulties of this magnitude since 1923," the date of the republic's founding, said Büyükanýt. "Turkey has never had that many problems at the same time since its founding."
He urged the nation not to lose faith. "We have fears that we need to overcome. Who can divide Turkey?" he said.
He also said Turkish democracy and secularism would remain intact. "Turkey is a democratic, secular and unified state. There is and will be no power that can change this."
Büyükanýt is also expected to raise the issue of an Armenian resolution in the US Congress in his talks with US officials. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the resolution soon which urges the US administration to recognize Armenian genocide claims.
He said the resolution saddened Turkey but added that he would not start a "polemic" by pledging retaliation. "We as the Turkish Armed Forces do not talk like that. We work together with the United States," he said. "But I believe the citizens of the United States would avoid moves that would hurt Turkey."
Today's ZamanGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16