Turkey to boycott Syria peace talks if PYD is invited

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announces that Turkey will boycott Syria peace talks if PKK’s Syrian extension PYD is invited to Geneva

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu stands during a press conrference with President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Pedro Agramunt in Strasbourg, France on Jan. 26, 2016.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has announced that Turkey will boycott Syria peace talks if PKK’s Syrian extension PYD is invited to the latest Geneva meeting, organised by the United Nations.

The United Nations has invited Syria's government and opposition to peace talks, set to start in Geneva on Friday, a UN statement said on Tuesday, without giving any details of who had been invited, or how many groups might participate.

“The PYD is a terrorist organisation and has no place with the opposition at the negotiating table,” Cavusoglu said in an interview on Turkish TV channel NTV that was broadcast live on Tuesday evening.

Turkey considers PYD as the PKK's Syrian extension, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU, and the US.

Russia, a strong ally of the Syrian regime, has been lobbying for PYD to be included on the list of opposition participant groups in the Geneva talks.

"Under what title will PYD sit at the table? Could a terrorist organisation be a representative of [Syrian Kurdish] people? Will Al Qaeda and Nusra Front be able to take a seat at the table?" Cavusoglu asked.

"The negotiation will be made between the opposition and the regime. Terrorist groups are out of the question," he stressed noting that there will no separate groups for Syrian Turkmens and Arabs as the opposition consists of them all.

"They say the PYD will not be invited, but if it is invited we will certainly boycott the Geneva talks," he added.

Political forces who treat PYD as a legitimate interlocutor "do not live in the reality of the region [northern Syria]” where PYD forces have been oppressing people including Kurds, if they hold a different opinion other than the group, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said on Tuesday afternoon. 

“Nobody can convince us that [PYD] is for peace," he declared.

TRTWorld, Reuters