Erdogan says PYD should be excluded from Syria cessation deal

Turkish President Erdogan says PKK-affiliate PYD should be left outside scope of cessation of hostilities deal between parties in Syria

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during meeting with local officials at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey, on February 24, 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that PKK-affiliate PYD and its armed wing YPG should be excluded from Syria cessation of hostilities deal, just like DAESH and the Al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front.

"If DAESH and Al-Nusra are kept outside the ceasefire, then the PYD-YPG must similarly be excluded from the cessation deal for it is a terrorist group just as they are," Erdogan said during a meeting with local officials in Ankara. 

Ankara considers the PYD as the Syrian extension of the PKK terrorist organisation. The YPG is the militant wing of PYD. 

PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and EU.

Turkish President said Turkey welcomed efforts towards a cessation deal in principle. "We support a ceasefire that will help our Syrian brothers breathe," he added.

On Monday, the US and Russia have agreed on a draft to call for a cessation of hostilities between Assad regime forces and opposition groups in Syria to begin on Feb. 27 but to exclude DAESH terrorists and al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front.

Erdogan then repeated his previous statements saying the West should recognise PYD-YPG as terrorist organisations, emphasising that western countries labels some as the 'good terrorists' while others as 'bad ones.'

"Believe me, I barely understand how clearly we can explain for our allies to understand that they are at a crossroads on this issue,” he added.

President Erdogan also said that if fighting against DAESH was the only criteria, then the West should cooperate with the Nusra Front which also fights against DAESH in Syria.

"To accept it as a terrorist organisation, will it require that the PKK and PYD explode their bombs not in Ankara but in other (foreign) capitals?" he asked.

Turkish security officials revealed on Tuesday that the Ankara terror attack was carried out jointly by PKK and YPG.

They said the PKK planned the attack, while the YPG provided assailants.

The explosion in Ankara killed 29 people and wounded 81 others when the suicide bomber attacked a military convoy that was stopped at a traffic light on Feb. 17.

A PKK-affiliated terrorist group TAK has claimed responsibility for the Ankara attack on Feb. 19, saying that it would continue its attacks.

Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu said that the TAK had claimed the attack as a "proxy" to shield the YPG.

"TAK is not any separate terrorist organisation, it is a branch of the PKK as well as the YPG. The fact that TAK claimed responsibility for the attack doesn’t eliminate the YPG’s connection to that," he emphasised.