Turkish presidential spokesman says when Moscow’s decision was presented as fait accompli, Ankara immediately objected.
Turkey’s presidency on Sunday said Moscow has postponed a Syrian National Dialogue Congress to a later date, adding that Turkey will not take part but may send an observer.
Ibrahim Kalin, presidential spokesman, said that Turkey had been in the middle of deciding whether to accept or decline the invitation to the congress -- originally set for Nov. 18 -- when news came it had been postponed.
“We found out that the congress was announced as a fait accompli. We immediately objected”, he told news channel NTV. “Afterwards, the Kremlin contacted us and stated that they had postponed this meeting”.
Moscow invited all Syrian opposition forces to attend the planned congress in the city of Sochi, Russia’s foreign minister said Friday.
Kalin said that Turkey will not be attending the meetings but may send an observer.
“It’s not certain yet. But what Russia has told us is that the meeting has been postponed now and the PYD would not be invited", he added.
The Turkish government considers the PYD/YPG to be the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization by Turkey and the U.S., and would object to it attending the conference.
During the last round of Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana late last month, three guarantor countries -- Russia, Turkey and Iran -- agreed to discuss proposals for holding a national dialogue conference.
However, the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee and the Syrian Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces both appear to have declined invitations to attend the gathering.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, according to UN figures.
US, Germany, Saudi Arabia
Asked about Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s planned visit to the U.S. on Nov. 7-11, Kalin referred to a recent bilateral visa dispute, saying, “I believe our distinguished prime minister will meet Vice President [Mike] Pence at the White House on Nov. 8. Of course this was decided before the visa issue. Hence, the visa issue will be discussed but it would not be right to reduce it to just that”.
Kalin said during the visit Yildirim will discuss bilateral and economic relations, and regional issues, as well as the visa row.
The visa dispute was sparked on Oct. 8, when the U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced the suspension of non-immigrant visa services to Turkish nationals, following the arrest of a local employee working at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul. This prompted a tit-for-tat response from Ankara.
On the five arrests made Saturday at a rally of supporters of PKK terrorist organization in Dusseldorf, Germany Kalin called it positive but “insufficient”.
“The German government needs to take more steps on counter-terrorism”, Kalin said.
Dusseldorf police took stricter measures on Saturday, after Turkey blasted German authorities last month over a pro-PKK rally in Cologne where protesters carried banned symbols of the terrorist group.
The PKK was banned in Germany in 1993, following violent protests carried out by group members in the country.
In the wake of dozens of arrests of top public figures in Saudi Arabia, Kalin also said King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s decision to fight corruption was a domestic issue.
“We hope that this process will contribute to stability, peace and prosperity in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
On Saturday, Saudi authorities detained 11 princes, four sitting ministers, and a dozen former ministers in an anti-corruption sweep.