Turkish PM suggests three-step road map for Syria
AA photoTurkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has suggested a three-pronged road map for a solution to the five-year-old war in Syria, which has not only affected neighboring countries but also many parts of the world with the flight of more than 4 million refugees.
Stating that he was optimistic that a solution was at hand due to the changing nature of Turkish foreign policy, in which Ankara aims to make more friends and decrease its number of enemies, Yıldırım said the time had come for Turkey to mend relations with Syria after taking steps for rapprochement with Israel and Russia, adding that they would overcome the Syrian problem together with regional actors.
“It will be a solution that will absolutely preserve Syria’s territorial integrity,” Yıldırım told Turkish daily Karar in an interview published on Aug. 15.
“Therefore, a state structure like the PYD [the Democratic Union Party] in this country [Syria] will be out of the question,” said Yıldırım, referring to Turkey’s objection to the PYD and its military wing, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), which has created a federation for the peoples of northern Syria.
Turkey considers the PYD and YPG to be offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting the Turkish state since 1984.
Turkey differs with the United States with regards to the PYD and YPG. The U.S. sees the two groups as its most reliable and effective partners in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The U.S., on the other hand, designates the PKK as a terror organization.
In the second stage, Yıldırım said the new era would not feature a state structure in which any of Syria’s sectarian, ethnic or regional formations has supremacy over the others.
“Namely, a structure will be formed that will eliminate the main defect of the current bloody problem in Syria,” he said. “As there will be no sectarian structure, this also means that [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad will not be there in the long-run.”
Turkey opposes the rule of al-Assad and blames him for many of the 290,000 deaths in the civil war and the creation of 4 million refugees.
“When a solution is put in place, Syrians who had to flee and seek refuge in regional countries including Turkey, will return to their country within the scope of a plan,” said Yıldırım, defining this last stage as the most important step for Turkey, which hosts around 3 million refugees, most of whom are from Syria.