Syrian Kurdish leader says ‘ready’ for fresh dialogue with Turkey
ISTANBUL / BRUSSELS
The co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Saleh Muslim speaks at a conference in Brussels on Nov. 23. AA photoThe co-leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which declared the establishment of a constituent assembly in the northern parts of Syria locally denominated as Rojava, said they have not held talks with Turkish officials in the recent period.
Although PYD’s latest move was branded as a “first step towards self-administration” and was slammed by Ankara, Saleh Muslim, who came to Turkey twice in August to meet intelligence officials and diplomats, expressed his readiness to engage in further talks with Turkey.
“We are hoping [that there will be new talks]. Why shouldn’t there be? We are ready for dialogue,” Muslim told the satellite channel Sterk TV, Doğan news agency reported on Nov. 23.
Muslim also brushed aside the accusations directed by the leader of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani on having moved towards autonomy by means of secret deals with the Bashar al-Assad regime.
Describing Barzani’s statements as “unfortunate”, Muslim said they viewed it as an interference on their internal policy. He however refused the notion that there could be an open clash with the Iraqi Kurds on the issue. “There are no objective or concrete conditions for a conflict among brothers,” Muslim said.
“[Barzani] should be together with his people. The people in Rojava are also Kurds. He should not see us differently,” he said, providing assurances that the plan to establish self-rule was not targeting anyone.
“We are doing it to not be without food, without oil. No one should feel threatened if we want order for our people. But unfortunately they show us as if we were against Turkish and Kurdish people,” Muslim said.
He also warned about growing tensions between Arabs and Kurds, calling for the Arabs who forcedly migrated to the Kurdish village to return. “Due to a policy of the state, Arabs have been settled in Kurdish regions. Now Jabhat al-Nusra [militants] are infiltrating among them. The situation in Qamishli and Hasaka is sensitive. If pushed, a conflict between Kurds and Arabs can emerge,” he said.
We don’t cooperate with al-Assad
Meanwhile in separate remarks, Muslim told Anadolu Agency the PYD refused to be labeled as an ally of Damascus. “We have given martyrs against the regime. We don’t accept being perceived as their ally. It’s disgraceful, an insult to our martyrs,” Muslim said.
Muslim emphasized no one had the right to meddle with their plan for future.
Before his visit to Diyarbakır last weekend, Barzani had claimed that the PYD had only authority on regions conceded by the al-Assad regime. He also accused the Syrian Kurdish group of failing to comply with an agreement among all Kurdish groups in Arbil, saying they were playing a “dangerous game.”