Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has strongly reiterated his government's categorical objection to the participation of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) taking part in U.N.-backed talks planned for later this week seeking a political solution to the Syrian crisis, while also making clear their objection was not aimed at excluding Syrian Kurds entirely from the negotiations.
“We believe there should be a table where Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens, Sunnis, Nusayris [Alevis] and Christians are all together. Kurds' presence at the table is an obligation” Davutoğlu said on Jan. 26.
“A table without Kurds will be lacking. However, we are against the [People's Protection Units] YPG and the PYD, who repress Kurds too being at the table, but not against Kurds” Davutoğlu said at a meeting with deputies of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Turkey, a major sponsor of the insurgency in Syria, has long said it was against the participation of the PYD, which plays an important role in fighting the Islamic State (IS).
“Those who are recognizing them as a legitimate partner, they don't live in the reality of the region. Nobody can convince us that these people are for peace” Davutoğlu told CNN International in remarks aired on Jan. 25.
Çavuşoğlu talks to Kerry twice in two days
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu resumed telephone diplomacy over the planned talks in Geneva. Çavuşoğlu spoke to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Jan. 26 while on a visit to Strasbourg to hold talks at the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), diplomatic sources said.
Çavuşoğlu's talks came a day after U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said talks aimed at ending Syria's brutal war will begin in Geneva on Jan. 29, after a delay over who would represent the country's fractious opposition.
Çavuşoğlu and his U.S. and British counterparts exchanged views on planned negotiations and the “invitation to negotiations,” said the same sources, speaking under condition of anonymity.
On late Jan. 24, Çavuşoğlu held telephone conversations with both Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and discussed the planned talks in Geneva.