Turkey’s evolving attitude toward PYD in parallel with Kurdish peace process ‘natural’: FM Davutoğlu
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Ahmet Davutoğlu argued in an interview with private broadcaster Habertürk that international criticism of Turkey’s 'Zero conflict with neighbors' policy was due to Ankara's increasing regional and global influence. AA photoThe change in Ankara’s attitude toward the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the biggest Kurdish group in northern Syria affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is “natural” in parallel to the ongoing peace process, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said.
Commenting on last week’s talks with PYD leader Salih Muslim and Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in an interview with private broadcaster Habertürk Aug. 2, Davutoğlu said Turkey does not perceive any group in Syria as a threat, including PYD.
“It is out of the question that we maintain contacts with a group that poses threats to Turkey’s security. But as the resolution process is ongoing, there is nothing more natural than reassessing our attitude toward the PYD. This has nothing to do with the clashes in Ras al-Ayn,” Davutoğlu said, adding that talks with the PYD were already initiated a few months ago.
“I said expressly that there was a process that started in April with the PYD that completed in a way the resolution process in Turkey,” he said.
The PYD has increased its control in the north of Syria after violent clashes between its armed wing and the al-Qaeda-linked al Nusra-Front which lasted for over a week.
Turkish officials expressed strong concerns about the imposition of a de facto autonomous Kurdish region in the north of Syria as a "fait accompli". The developments prompted the government to hold an emergency meeting on July 24, which was followed by surprise talks with Muslim.
Davutoğlu said some circles were trying to “create tension” between Kurdish communities in neighboring countries and Turkey. “We won’t allow this. Should someone threaten Turkey, we will take the adequate measures, regardless of if they are Turks, Arabs or Kurds,” he said.
Davutoğlu also touched on the ongoing clashes just across the Turkish-Syrian border which caused casualties in Şanlıurfa’s Ceylanpınar district.
“The issue is not the conflict between al-Nusra and PYD. What we are trying to prevent is the sparking of a Kurd-Arab conflict,” Davuoğlu stressed, adding that Turkey was only providing support to the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the Higher Military Council which united with the Free Syria Army.
Morsi still ‘legitimate President’
Regarding Egypt, Davutoğlu said that Ankara considered the toppled President Mohamed Morsi as the ‘legitimate president.’
However he added that Turkey was not cutting diplomatic ties despite adopting a harsh stance against the July 3 military takeover. “We still have contacts, our embassy [in Cairo] is open,” he said.
Davutoğlu also argued that international criticism of Turkey’s “Zero conflict with neighbors” policy was due to Ankara's increasing regional and global influence.
“There is an expectation according to which Turkey should earn all the benefits of an active foreign policy without shouldering any responsibility. That we have influence in the whole Middle East without taking a risk on Syria. That Turkey becomes a big power without any negative development from nowhere. But being a big power has also costs as much as the opportunities provided by it,” he said.