Turkey calls on EU countries to rethink PYD bureaus

Turkey calls on EU countries to rethink PYD bureaus

Turkey calls on EU countries to rethink PYD bureaus

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Turkey has called on the Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany and France to rethink decisions to permit Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) to open bureaus on their soil, claiming such a move could encourage militants to target Turkey and Turkish people. 

The warning was issued by Turkey’s top security board, the National Security Council (MGK), in a bi-monthly meeting under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and with the participation of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and top military and intelligence officials late May 26. 

Turkey considers the Syria-based PYD and its armed wing, People’s Protection Units (YPG), as affiliates of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and accuses the group of trying to establish an autonomous region in northern Syria. Turkey has long been calling its Western allies, including the United States, to distance themselves from the PYD and instead cooperate with putatively moderate Arab rebels in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria. 

Despite Ankara’s messages, the U.S. and many of its European allies regard the PYD as a political entity and an efficient partner in the anti-ISIL fight as seen in the anti-ISIL coalition’s recent operations to liberate Raqqa from jihadists. 

The PYD’s recent initiatives to open bureaus in some European capitals like Prague, Stockholm, Paris and Berlin increased Turkey’s reaction against the countries, as the MGK statement said the move would “encourage and give further opportunities for the bloody-handed terrorists that have created bloodshed in Turkey.” 

The MGK also recalled that such a move was not in keeping with the idea of friendship and alliance and called on the countries to re-think their decision. 

Turkey to call on NATO for deterrence 

The MGK statement underlined once again that recent security problems posed by ISIL against Turkey raised the need to establish no-fly and secure zones inside Syria. It also stressed that NATO should take measures to boost deterrence and confidence-building measures for all allied countries in a summit that will take place in Warsaw on July 8 and 9. 

Apart from security challenges outside Turkey, the MGK reiterated its determination to remove what it calls the pro-Gülenist “parallel structure,” something it has deemed a terrorist organization, from the state apparatus. The fight against the PKK will also continue with determination and with the emphasis that neither the PKK nor its political affiliations can be legitimate representatives of Turkish citizens of Kurdish decent. 

The MGK also evaluated growing hate speech and racism toward Islam in European countries and the U.S. and discussed appropriate political, legal and social measures that can be taken in response.