PYD can never be reliable anti-Daesh partner - Turkish FM
The Syria-based terrorist organization PYD should never be considered as a reliable partner for defeating Daesh, Turkish foreign minister said at the fifth meeting of the "Turkish-British Tatlidil Forum" in London Saturday, Anadolu agency reported.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu differed from the views of his British counterpart, Philip Hammond, at the forum, who said the PYD needed to be part of the political process in Syria.
"A terrorist organization should never be a reliable partner to defeat another terrorist organization," Cavusoglu said, adding: "In this case, my opinion is a little bit different than Philips regarding the PYD. For us, the PYD and the PKK are the same, there is no difference. When you look at the structures of the PYD, you see the PKK terrorist elements".
The Turkish minister also highlighted links of the PYD with the Bashar al-Assad regime and Russia.
"PYD is not only an ally of the regime, but also the ally of Russia. Therefore, a terrorist organization should not be a reliable partner to defeat another terrorist organization," he said.
"A terrorist organization, which is not radical Islamist should not be [considered] a better one than Daesh or Al Nusra. From time to time, Al Nusra is also fighting Daesh for their interest; therefore, we cannot legitimize any other terrorist organization just because they are fighting others on the ground. Therefore, the PYD should never be a reliable partner to defeat Daesh," he said.
Cavusoglu said the international coalition forces were enough to defeat terrorist organizations.
There are several countries in the coalition, including Turkey and the U.K.said Cavusoglu and added, " We can - if we have a predetermined, result-oriented strategy - defeat Daesh all together; we do not need other terrorists."
Turkish foreign minister also said Turkey and the U.K. continue to work closely to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria.
"We should put pressure on the regime and Russia to commit to a political process. However, Russia's actions in recent years do not give us reason to be optimistic," he said.
British foreign secretary also addressed the Tatlidil Forum, a platform established in 2011 to enhance Turkish- British relations.
About PYD's military wing, YPG, the British foreign minister said the Syrian group had been an effective military ground force in Syria against Daesh.
"They have mounted operations against Daesh in northwest Syria, and fighting with our partners in northeast Syria. The Kurds in northern Iraq have also been highly effective against Daesh but we should be cautious about the YPG operating outside their traditional areas.
"We should be more cautious still because of the reports of the YPG in northwest Syria cooperating [with] the Syrian regime in attacks on moderate opposition groups who are committed to negotiations in Geneva," Hammond said.
But, while he said Syria's territorial integrity is a nonnegotiable issue for the U.K.; he said: "PYD should be involved in political process in Syria".
"The answer cannot be an independent Kurdish state carved out of Syria's territory; however, the reality is Kurdish groups like the PYD, political wing of YPG, will need to be part of the political process in Syria," Hammond said.
He also acknowledged that Turkey had paid a heavy price in the Syria conflict and praised the country's generosity in hosting millions of refugees.
He noted that Turkey played a "critical role" in stemming the flow of foreign fighters travelling to join Daesh terrorist organization.
"As a NATO ally and strategic partner, Turkey's security concerns must be our security concerns," Hammond said.
"We cannot allow northern Syria to become a launch pad for any future hostile action against our NATO ally. Safeguarding Turkey's security, therefore, NATO's security is just as important when it comes to standing up to Russian aggression," he added.
- Cyprus issue
Meanwhile, regarding the Cyprus issue, Cavusoglu said: "We are fully supporting the ongoing negotiations in the island. We expect a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement will be achieved within this year, treating the two sides on the ground of equality and displaying a balanced approach is essential".
Hammond said a settlement on Cyprus would give a huge boost to the region.
"The continuing ambiguity of Cyprus's future is a constant source of tension and impediment to greater cooperation between NATO and EU. There are still some hard issues to resolve, including the question of security and guarantees. But now, we have leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, who work well together and clearly want to reach settlement," he said.
Hammond also said Turkey is a unique country and partner of the U.K. He said Turkey "rightly aspires to be a model to follow" and the region badly needs one.
"Turkey has options, a European focused future, a Middle Eastern focused future or a unique role as a bridge between two regions," he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his British counterpart Phillip Hammond held a bilateral meeting after the opening session of the forum, which will continue until March 13.