Turkey meets with PYD leader Salih Muslim, other Syrian Kurds + MIT

16 August 2013 /TODAY’S ZAMAN, ANKARA A delegation from the Foreign Ministry has wrapped up its talks with Saleh Muslim, the head of Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) — an offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — for a second time in İstanbul, after also having had separate discussions with the other Syrian Kurdish leaders about the situation in northern Syria.

Turkish diplomatic sources said the talks with the PYD leader that ended on Thursday were follow-up ones from Muslim’s first visit to Turkey at the end of July. The Turkish delegation was led by Ömer Önhon, the Turkish ambassador for political affairs, and was composed of Foreign Ministry officials, along with the officials from other institutions, including the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

“Turkey repeated its call on the PYD to join the Syrian National Coalition. They should be a part of this coalition [SNC] — the internationally recognized Syrian opposition. And we also told them that they should not seek de facto autonomy in Syria,” sources said, adding that the meetings with Muslim would continue on later dates, but no specific time and place have been determined.

The PYD’s plans to establish an interim government in northern Syria were also discussed during the meeting. Turkey has already warned the Kurdish group that it would not allow a de facto autonomous Kurdish administration in Syria, which would be carved out by the PYD using the opportunity of the situation of conflict in Syria. The PYD, in return, assured Turkey that such an administration would only be an interim one, in order to deliver the needs of the people in the region controlled by the PYD. The PYD leader again assured the Turkish officials that there is no planned declaration of a fait accompli Kurdish autonomy in the region, the sources confirmed.

Muslim paid a two-day official visit to Turkey late July when Ankara said that it would 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.

Turkish officials had talks with Muslim in Cairo at least once and in İstanbul last month. The talks came amid intensifying clashes between Kurdish militants and al-Qaeda-linked fighters. Prior to this visit, Muslim was in Tehran to discuss the situation inside Syria with the Iranian officials. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Kurdish National Council, Abdulhakim Bashar, and the leader of the Kurdish Freedom (Azadi) Party, Mustafa Cumma, were also in İstanbul, and the two discussed the situation of Kurds in the north. The two Kurdish leaders are stated as coming to Turkey upon the Foreign Ministry’s own request.

Azadi is the main critic of PYD policies in the north of the country, while having close relations with the president of the Iraqi Kurdish administration, Massoud Barzani. Bashar also visited Tehran in talks with the Iranian officials, along with Muslim last week. In remarks to Today’s Zaman, the same sources said Turkey’s contact with Syrian Kurdish groups is a wide-ranging one, and not limited to the PYD.

“Turkey sees the Syrian Kurds as a main element of the opposition. Our humanitarian aid to the Kurdish people also continues. They are grateful for our generous support to the Kurdish people,” the sources said. http://www.todayszaman.com/news-323602-turkey-meets-with-pyd-leader-other-syrian-kurds.html