Turkey urges UN to not invite PYD to Syria constitution commission after Sochi

Turkey urges UN to not invite PYD to Syria constitution commission after Sochi

Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
Turkey urges UN to not invite PYD to Syria constitution commission after Sochi

Turkey has urged the U.N. Special Representative for Syria Staffan de Mistura not to invite any representative from the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to the committee that will be formed to establish a new constitution for Syria.

Meeting with the Turkish delegation at Sochi talks, Mistura said he was “aware of” Turkey’s sensitivity regarding the issue, diplomatic sources told Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity.

The decision to form a committee to draft a new constitution was made during the Russian-sponsored Sochi talks on Jan. 29-30.

According to the Sochi consensus, the three guarantor countries Turkey, Russia and Iran each separately submitted de Mistura a list of 50 names, making a total of 150, as members of the constitutional committee.

De Mistura will decide on the members of the committee, which will include nearly 30-40 people, using these names, though he also has the authority to include other names, sources said.

One third of this committee will represent the regime, another third will represent the opposition and the remaining third will come from independent names. The meetings will take place in Geneva.

The U.N. envoy will also consult with other countries over Syria regarding the formation of the committee.

Turkey sees the Sochi Congress as a “valuable contribution to the Geneva process,” a foreign ministry official told Hürriyet Daily News. The decision to form a constitutional committee and assign this task to the UN envoy are the two major outcomes of the congress, according to Ankara’s assessment.

The statement for the Sochi Congress is also the reflection of the Geneva declaration dated March 10, the official noted.

Turkey does not see the Sochi congress as an “activity of Russia.” “We have engaged with all sides,” the official said, adding that Ankara made efforts to remove worries from both the opposition and the U.N. and worked to build a strong connection between the Sochi platform and the Geneva process.

Elaborating on the Syrian opposition’s objection to attending the Sochi congress after seeing the regime flag at the airport, the official said the presence of another flag was realized during Syrian peace talks taking place in Vienna and Turkey contacted Russia for its removal. Moscow agreed, but the opposition members found other offensive logos including the regime flag at the airport.

Russia said the flag does not represent the regime, but the Syrian people, and is being used at the U.N.