PYD ‘philosophically linked’ to PKK leader, says PYD head

PYD ‘philosophically linked’ to PKK leader, says PYD head

Tolga Tanış – BRUSSELS
PYD ‘philosophically linked’ to PKK leader, says PYD head Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey accuses of being an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), embraces the ideas of the PKK’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan, PYD head Salih Muslim has said. 

“For example, we already embrace the ideas of esteemed Öcalan,” said Muslim in an interview with daily Hürriyet. 

“Not only us. The Arabs also embrace [his ideas], others too. This has become an international thing,” he added. 

Saying there was no tie between the PKK and the PYD and its military wing, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), Muslim said that the link was on an “intellectual” or philosophic level. 

“[The link] is of course on an intellectual level. [Öcalan] is a Kurdish leader.” 

The PKK is regarded as a terror organization by Turkey, the EU and the U.S., but while Turkey designates the PYD and YPG as terrorist groups too, the U.S. sees the two organizations as “reliable” partners in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Turkey, however, has continued to push for their classification as terrorist organizations.

Muslim said Turkey needed to get rid of its “Kurdish-phobia,” while commenting on how the relations between the PYD and Turkey would be improved. 

“In truth, I do not know,” said Muslim. 

“We did everything we can and we are ready to do it once again. But the last resort should not be that we are dissolved. There is a mass of people there. If the formations [of people] there reach a decision, if they reach a decision to govern themselves then it is no one’s right to intervene,” he said. “Therefore, I believe Turkey needs to get rid of this Kurdish-phobia.” 

Responding on the possibility of Turkey launching ground operations in Syria, Muslim said he did not foresee such an act “especially in this latest conditions,” referring not only to the Russians but also “international public opinion.” 

Muslim denied that the YPG was the military wing of the PYD, adding that the PYD was a political party in the process of formation and that the PYD could not control YPG. 

“[The YPG] has its own administration, its own commanders,” Muslim said. 

Muslim said that as a political party, the PYD had criticized the YPG, especially for recruiting minors to fight as soldiers. But following their criticism, this situation had changed, Muslim added. 

Regarding the United Nations-brokered peace talks in Geneva, Muslim said this process would change everything. 

“The [Syrian] regime will go too. A Democratic Syria will be formed. A decentralized Syria like we have said will be formed,” said Muslim, adding that they were part of this “new Syria.”