Turkey: Syrian Kurds’ unilateral act for federal system to have no ‘validity’
Emine Kart - ANKARAThe Turkish capital has ruled out a planned move by Syrian Kurds to declare a federal system in the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria, arguing that such a move would not have “any validity.”
“Syria’s national unity and territorial integrity is the basis [of Syria],” a Turkish Foreign Ministry official told Hürriyet Daily News on March 16, after Idris Nassan, an official in the foreign affairs directorate of Kobane, one of three autonomous areas set up by Kurdish groups two years ago, told Reuters that they would make the announcement on March 16.
“Syrian people, with the participation of all segments, will collectively make their decision on the administration style and administrative structure of Syria with the new constitution, which will be drafted within the framework of ‘a political transition process,’” said the official, speaking under customary condition of anonymity.
“Apart from that, unilateral acts cannot have any validity,” the official added.
NATO member Turkey is part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Syria, but it sees advances by autonomy-seeking Kurds, led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), as a threat to its own national security, fearing their moves could stoke separatism among Turkish Kurds.
The announcement would mean “widening the framework of self-administration which the Kurds and others have formed,” Nassan said.
He told Reuters the areas would be named the Federation of northern Syria, and represent all ethnic groups living there.
The PYD has been left out of peace talks underway in Geneva, in line with the wishes of Turkey, which sees it as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).
The People’s Protection Units (YPG), the PYD’s militia force, has captured large areas of northeastern Syria from ISIL, and has been the most effective partner on the ground for a U.S.-led air campaign against the jihadists.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, meanwhile, said that U.S. and Russian weapons are ending up in the hands of the PKK. He also rejected the idea of any form of Kurdish self-rule in Turkey in an address in Ankara.