ISTANBUL – Hürriyet – 26.7.2013 – The leader of the main Kurdish group in northern Syria, Salih Muslim, arrived July 25 in Istanbul for two days of talks, daily Hürriyet reported.
The visit qualified as “unexpected” comes a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a three-hour-long emergency meeting mainly focusing on the latest developments in northern Syria. According to daily Hürriyet, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) leader came to Istanbul at 4:30 p.m. on a flight from Arbil in northern Iraq and is expected to stay two days.
The Turkish government had expressed strong concerns about the imposition of a de facto autonomous region in the north of Syria after the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) affiliated PYD increased its control in the area. The People’s Defense Units (YPG), PYD’s armed wing, has been engaged in a violent fight with the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front for over a week, gaining the control of the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn, near the Turkish town of Ceylanpınar.
The developments had prompted the Turkish government to hold an emergency meeting yesterday, attended by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel and Turkish National Intelligence Organization head Hakan Fidan along with the prime minister.