Davutoglu says Turkey never supported al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has denied allegations of support for al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria, adding that Turkey did not contribute to the start of the crisis in the Arab country Today`s Zaman reported.
Davutoglu, during a televised interview on Friday, said footage that appeared in the media showing al-Qaeda-linked groups crossing to Syria from Turkey was not real.
"The [Syrian] regime, which caused a quagmire [in Syria], the international community and the UN Security Council, who remained indifferent [to the crisis], and those circles which benefit from the quagmire in the country are not being held responsible [for the situation in Syria], but neighboring countries like Turkey, which is affected most, are being held responsible. It is not possible to make sense of this [dilemma]," Davutoglu said.
Davutoglu continued to say that Turkey has no relations with al-Qaeda-linked groups and has never supported them.
Adana governor says seized rocket heads indicate no support for radicals
Adana Governor Hüseyin Avni Cos has said that a truck seized on Thursday carrying nearly a thousand rocket warheads and 10 launch pads in the southern city of Adana was an indication that Turkey is not supporting radical groups in Syria.
"This is an indication that the Turkish Republic is not allowing those who want to engage in illegal acts in Turkey or in other countries," Cos told reporters on Friday as he updated press members on the seized truck.
The truck was en route to Adana when an anonymous call tipped off the police early on Thursday that the truck was transporting a drug shipment. The police found 935 rocket warheads and 10 launch pads in the truck after trailing the truck until it was received by an unidentified manufacturing firm in the metal industrial zone of Adana.
The governor said on Friday that 10 people had been detained in connection with the incident and that the police are looking into all connections related to the truck. Cos said the weapons were believed to be destined for Syria and that the launch pads were produced in Konya and Adana.
PYD's Muslim says Turkey cut support to radical groups in Syria
Meanwhile, the leader of Syria's most powerful Kurdish group has said Turkey recently cut support to al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria, which he believes is due to pressure from the international community.
Saleh Muslim, the leader of Syria's Democratic Union Party (PYD), an offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), in remarks that appeared in the Taraf daily on Friday, said Turkey was no longer providing logistical support to members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, the extremist Ahrar al-Sham or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by letting them cross into Syria from Turkish border provinces.
"The thugs [radical groups] are not attacking us after crossing to [Syria] from Turkey as [frequently as] before. This is very good news. We hope that Turkey will continue this stance [towards the extremist groups]," Muslim said.
The PYD leader had previously accused Turkey of having a hand in the atrocities committed by extremist groups that are fighting against the regime in Syria. Ankara has denied the claims several times, saying it will not take part in the ongoing fighting in Syria.
Muslim said Ankara's policy towards radical groups changed after Syria's extremist groups started to pose a threat to the security of Turkey. "Moreover, international pressure has also contributed [to the change of policy on radical groups]," Muslim added.
"We have always said and we will continue to say this: We want friendly relations with Turkey. We are not pursuing independence or a federal system [within the Syrian central government]," the PYD leader said.
Extremist militants have clashed with more moderate groups in mostly opposition-held northern Syria, and have battled PYD militants in northeastern border areas for months.
When Muslim was asked the next target the PYD wanted to take control of, the PYD leader replied it could be Tel Abyad, a northern town bordering Turkey.
The PYD has recently announced that Kurdish militias had seized Ras al-Ain, a key town a few hundred meters from the Ceylanpınar district of Sanlıurfa province in Turkey, and all its surrounding villages. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said the Kurds had seized at least 19 towns in the area.