Turkish top diplomat says PYD should not be in Geneva talks

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu states that PKK’s Syrian affiliate PYD should not be allowed to participate Syrian peace talks in Geneva

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a press conference at the end of the Turkey - European Union (EU) ministerial political dialogue meeting in Ankara palace in Ankara on Jan. 25, 2016.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that efforts to include "terror groups like the [PKK’s Syrian affiliate] YPG" among the opposition groups in Syrian peace talks was very dangerous and would undermine the process during a press conference with the top European Union (EU) officials in Ankara on Monday.

YPG is the armed wing of the PYD, which Turkey considers the PKK’s Syrian extension. PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU, and the US.

Speaking at the same news conference, the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said that the Syrian peace talks must be inclusive and that the United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura was working hard to achieve this.

Talks between the Syrian government and opposition had been due to start in Geneva on Monday, but it was delayed partly because of a dispute over who will be part of the opposition delegation.

Russia has been lobbying for PYD to be included on the list of opposition participant groups in the Geneva talks, however Turkey has fiercely been opposing PYD’s participation in the peace talks.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday indicated that he hoped to have “clarity” on the potential start date of Syrian peace talks within 24 to 48 hours.

He said it was better to postpone the peace talks for a few days than to have a problematic start.

Kerry told journalists that invitations for the peace talks should not be dispatched until "you have pieces lined up."

More than 260,000 people have been killed in Syria since the civil war started in 2011 between the Assad regime and opposition forces following the "Arab Spring" movement that swept a number of countries in the Middle-East and North Africa.

In addition, 6.7 million are displaced internally while at least 5 million have fled the country to the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.

TRTWorld, Reuters