Syria meeting in Russia ‘postponed over Turkey’s objection’
Russia has postponed a meeting on Syria, which was scheduled to take place on Nov. 18 in the Russian city of Sochi, after Ankara’s objection to the proposed participation of Syrian Kurdish groups, Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on Nov. 5.
“Following [Turkey’s objection], the Kremlin contacted us and expressed that they had postponed this meeting. This means that as of now, if there are no other changes to be made, this meeting is planned to be held on another date rather than Nov. 18,” Kalın said during an interview on private broadcaster NTV.
Russia announced late last month that a meeting titled “Syrian Congress on National Dialogue” would be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Nov. 18, adding that 33 Syrian groups and political parties, including Kurdish groups and anti-Assad rebel factions, were invited.
Turkey had objected to the invitation of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD), which it considers as extensions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“It is an imposition. We have immediately conveyed our reaction. It’s unacceptable,” Kalın had told reporters on Nov. 1.
Turkish officials in the last Astana meeting immediately intervened in the invitation and “the problem was resolved,” he had said, adding that Ankara told Moscow “this kind of initiatives will not be welcomed.”
Reiterating Ankara’s objection, Kalın said the announcement of the Congress was “a kind of fait accompli,” as Turkey had asked more information on the content, participants and expected results of the meeting from Russia a week before Astana meeting that was held on Oct. 30-31.
“We are not participating anyway. We may send an observer. But what Russia had said to us is that the meeting has been postponed and the PYD will not be invited,” he added.
He also said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will travel to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin, with the details of this meeting “to be announced soon.”
Russia had been planning to launch a new initiative on the Syrian conflict during a two-day meeting in Astana on Nov. 30-31. Moscow had stated that the congress would focus on “compromise solutions” toward ending the six years of conflict.
The initiative of the congress was also criticized for attempting to bypass the U.N.-brokered peace talks to be held in Geneva on Nov. 28.
Military operation to Iraq and Syria
After President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to “smash any terror camp that is located in Iraq and Syria,” İbrahim Kalın also said “Turkey’s struggle against terror will continue.”
“It may be to Kandil or Syria. We are in a struggle against terror,” Kalın said.
“The U.S. has opened a huge field for the PYD and the YPG under the name of the fight against DEASH,” he added.
Recalling that the PKK and the YPG have their bases and camps in Iraq and Syria, Erdoğan recently said Turkey “could pursue an operation at any moment, as we successfully did in Jarablus and al-Bab line, and again in Idlib.