FM heads for Arbil to seek cooperation
Demonstrators hold Kurdish flags during a protest against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s al-Hasakah. REUTERS photoForeign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will today depart for Arbil, where he will meet with Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani with Syria tension being the highlight of the meeting. Although Ankara is uneasy over the Iraqi Regional Government’s move to join hands with Syrian Kurds, Turkey is trying to keep calm with Barzani in a bid to maintain ties. Davutoğlu will urge the Barzani for cooperation in Syria’s transition process, instead of unilateral moves on Iraqi Kurds such as collaboration with the Democratic Union of Kurdistan and militarily training Syrian Kurds, diplomatic sources said. As Turkey worried about the PKK members transferred from the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq to northern Syria, the minister will ask Barzani to enhance security measures against the organization, according to the sources.
Meanwhile, Davutoğlu held a phone conversation with Secretary General of Arab League Nabil al-Arabi yesterday. Davutoğlu and al-Arabi discussed an upcoming Arab League resolution that will be submitted to the U.N. General assembly in the upcoming days, diplomatic sources said. The parties also stressed the impotance of preserving the historical fabric in Aleppo, where clashes between Syrian forces and rebels have escalated since last week.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad does not have any chance of staying in power, Egemen Bağış, Turkey’s EU minister, told reporters yesterday after his meeting with Özgür Ünlühisarcıklı, the director of the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ office in Ankara. Identifying al-Assad as the “devil of Damascus,” Bağış said that even countries once supportive of the Syrian president had started to make post-Assad plans.
Deputy Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry Halit Çelik held meeting with Iranian officials in Tehran yesterday to discuss developments in Syria.