Turkey ‘uneasy’ over PYD office, Stockholm says ‘no diplomatic status’ granted
AA photoTurkey has conveyed its uneasiness to Sweden over the opening of a Democratic Union Party office in Stockholm, as the latter has stated that the representation office has “no diplomatic status.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held a telephone conversation with his Swedish counterpart, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, on April 27, while he was in Beijing participating in the fifth foreign ministers’ meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Turkish diplomatic sources told Hürriyet Daily News on April 28.
“During his talk with Swedish Foreign Minister Wallström, Minister Çavuşoğlu expressed our uneasiness we felt due to the PYD’s opening of an office in Stockholm,” diplomatic sources, speaking under customary condition of anonymity, said.
Turkey sees the PYD and its militia force, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it labels as a terrorist organization. The PYD/YPG has already opened offices in Moscow and Prague in the past months.
On April 17, they opened yet another office in Stockholm, with news reports from Sweden citing its name as “The Rojava Bureau.”
The conversation between Çavuşoğlu and Wallström took place upon the latter’s request as the two ministers hold regular contacts on a wide range of issues that are of common interest , Swedish diplomatic sources told Hürriyet Daily News on April 28.
“The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not informed of establishment of the PYD office. This office has not been in touch with the ministry and it has no diplomatic status,” the Swedish diplomatic sources, who requested anonymity, said.
ARA News press agency reported on April 18 that a ceremony was held for the opening of the office on April 17 and Nesrin Abdullah, a spokesperson and commander of the YPG’s female branch, the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), also attended the ceremony.
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 PYD, as a threat to its own national security, fearing their moves could stoke separatism among Turkish Kurds.
Russia supports the inclusion of the PYD as part of the Syrian opposition at the U.N.-brokered peace talks in Geneva the latest round of which went on recess earlier this week, while Turkey rejects the PYD’s participation at the negotiations table.