Turkey’s Kurdish leader says Russia should build ‘strategic cooperation’ with Kurds

SPUTNIK Neews – Moscow – 3 Sept 2016 – ANKARA,— By establishing strategic ties with the Kurds, Russia could significantly contribute to the Syrian settlement and stability in the Middle East, a lawmaker of a pro-Kurdish party in the Turkish parliament told Sputnik in an exclusive interview.

Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party in Turkey, commented on Russia’s policy towards the Kurdish problem in Syria.“Russia should intensify its ties with the Kurdish people. Cooperation with Kurds should be based on a strategic basis, not under the influence of a political environment. Such an approach would contribute to the peaceful settlement in the Middle East,” Demirtas said.

According to the politician, Russia and other major international players could play an important role in the Syrian settlement, including the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Syria.

In turn, Kurds are also important in building strategic cooperation with Russia, he added. “Russia is a country which is actively involved in fighting terrorism in Syria. Now, when the situation in Syria is improving, it is crucial that all parties involved articulate their stance towards Kurds’ presence in northern Syria. All players should base their policy on this fact,” Demirtas pointed out.

The lawmaker also commented on the Turkish military operation in the northern Syrian city of Jarablus. According to Demirtas, the operation is aimed primarily at preventing a Kurdish autonomous region in Syria. “Currently, there is a mutual balance of power in the region, and it should not be broken in the short-run. I believe that the United States and Russia will not let Turkey use the fight against Daesh as a pretext for breeding new radical groups in Syria,” he said.

Demirtas also said that Erdogan is using the fight against Daesh as a tool to receive international support for Turkey’s actions in Syria. “However, the fight against Kurds will not improve Erdogan’s international reputation. By attacking Kurds, one of the main forces fighting Daesh, Erdogan helps Daesh. Thus, he is damaging his own reputation. But he cannot change the balance of power in the Middle East,” the politician concluded.