PYD leader makes surprise visit to Turkey

26 July 2013 /TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL – Saleh Muslim, the leader of Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD), an offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), made a surprise two-day visit to Turkey for talks over escalating clashes near the Turkish-Syrian border amid mounting warnings from Ankara against any unilateral move to establish an autonomous Kurdish political structure in northern Syria.

In a move to assuage Ankara’s concerns, the PYD had earlier said that it poses no threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity and called for broader cooperation with Ankara against radical groups fighting in northern Syria.

Muslim arrived in İstanbul on a flight from Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on Thursday afternoon. Turkish media reported that Muslim is expected to meet with Turkish officials, including diplomats from the Foreign Ministry and officials from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). Armed fighting has been escalated between the PYD and al-Qaeda-linked radical groups over control of towns in northern Syria. Ankara has recently said that it will not take any part in the ongoing fighting between Kurdish groups and al-Qaeda-linked radical groups for control of the northern towns bordering Turkey.