Participation of PKK/PYD terrorist group in any international meeting is ‘unacceptable’, says Turkish foreign minister
Turkish, Russian and Iranian foreign ministers on Sunday met in Turkey's Mediterranean city of Antalya ahead of a trilateral meeting on Syria, scheduled to be held in Russia’s Sochi city next Wednesday.
On Saturday, high-ranking officials from the three countries also met in Iranian capital Tehran to make preparations for the Sochi meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters on Sunday after meeting Russian Sergey Lavrov and Iranian Javad Zarif.
Cavusoglu said they discussed the topics that may come up during the summit with his counterparts. He said the purpose of the summit was to evaluate what the three guarantor countries have succeeded about Syria so far, and the steps that should be taken in the future.
"With the Astana process, we have come a long way with Russia, especially in terms of the establishment of peace on the field and forming de-escalation zones. Situation on the field is much better compared to last year,” Cavusoglu said.
When asked whether PKK/PYD terrorist organization was invited to the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, Cavusoglu said the participation of the terrorist group would be unacceptable for Turkey. “Our sensitivity about PYD/YPG is obvious,” he added.
The PYD and its military YPG wing are Syrian branches of the PKK, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years.
Since the PKK launched its terror campaign in Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands of people have been killed, including more than 1,200 since July 2015 alone.
The U.S. and the coalition have largely ignored the PYD/PYG links to the PKK, which the U.S., EU, and Turkey list as a terrorist group.
At the Sochi meeting, leaders of the three guarantor countries will discuss developments in Syria and the recent situation in the region.
The three countries had brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, which led to the talks in Astana, Kazakhstan. The talks are being held in parallel to UN-backed discussions in Geneva to find a political solution to the six-year conflict.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will take part in the meeting hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will also attend the meeting.
The eighth round of Astana talks is expected to be held in the second half of December.