Peace process to effect the region, Syria: Turkish FM

Peace process to effect the region, Syria: Turkish FM

Peace process to effect the region, Syria: Turkish FM

Turkish FM Davutoglu, (C) speaks to the media with UN’s Valerie Amos, (L) Ertharin Cousin in Davos. He calls the need for a political process in Syria. AP photo

The peace process launched to disarm the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and solve the Kurdish question has the capacity to effect the course of developments in Syria and the region, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said.

“Everything happening in the region is interrelated. Interaction [between the peace process and Syria developments] is therefore only natural. A rapid stabilization of Syria is important but all relevant groups in Syria should distance themselves from the regime. I refer to the PYD (Democratic Union Party),” Davutoğlu told the private news channel NTV yesterday. “We will closely follow the stance the PYD will take. If the terror [organization] will be disarmed, then this surely affects developments in other countries, as well,” he said.

The Turkish government launched dialogues with Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the PKK early January, aiming to disarm the organization and solve the Kurdish question. With the Syrian regime handing over rule of some border cities to the PYD last August, Turkey strongly reacted against the Syrian Kurdish group raising their flag over official buildings. Turkish intelligence also found growing cooperation between the PYD and the PKK.

A week after the process was launched; three prominent Kurdish militants were murdered in an execution-style hit in Paris raising questions on whether the killings were aimed to thwart talks. Davutoğlu said they were in close contact with French officials, who arrested 20-year-old Ömer Güney as the prime suspect. “French officials are extending the investigation. For us, shedding light on this incident is very important,” he said, noting that it was revealing who might be willing to provoke terror and to sabotage the peace process.

Developments on Syria not promising

Illustrating an dismal picture with regard to the international community’s efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Davutoğlu stressed the need for a political process that would heed the demands of the Syrian people. “As Turkey, we have exerted all sorts of efforts to this end,” he said. “Unfortunately, the international community failed to pass the test on Syria and this test does not set a good sample for the future.”

Recalling that Patriot defense systems are being deployed in Turkey as a security measure against a potential ballistic offensive from Syria, Davutoğlu said the systems will be sent back to supplier countries on the same day this risk is cleared.

He also said stalled negotiation processes with the EU will gain momentum in coming weeks, noting that he held meetings with EU Commissioner Stefan Füle on Jan. 22 in Brussels. “Our contact with France is continuing,” he said, and he will meet with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Munich next week. France is blocking five chapters in Turkey’s bid for EU accession and is under pressure from Turkey for the removal of its blocks.