Turkey enraged by Russian involvement of Kurdish PYD in Syria talks

Putin’s Syria envoy earlier said that a “more active” involvement of the Kurds in a political solution for the Syrian conflict was an “issue."

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Ankara could not accept the invitation by Russia of the primary Syrian Kurdish party Democratic Union Party (PYD) to peace talks to solve the war in Syria, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office on Wednesday.

Erdogan's spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin told the media at a press conference in Ankara that his country's diplomats were in touch with Russian officials to prevent PYD's participation in a peace conference in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi later this month.

"[The invitation] is a fait accompli. We immediately relayed our reaction. Of course, it is impossible for us to accept this," Kalin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Syria envoy Alexander Lavrentyev over the weekend said that a “more active” involvement of the Kurds in a political solution for the Syrian conflict was an “issue."

He highlighted the role of the US-backed Kurdish forces in defeating the Islamic State (IS) group.

“The question arises on how to involve the Kurds more actively in the post-conflict restoration and political resolution,” Lavrentyev said of Kurds whose forces liberated the IS capital of Raqqa last week.

The reaction from Ankara was expected. Along with the Syrian regime’s two primary military backers Tehran and Moscow, Turkey sponsors the Astana talks in Kazakhstan.

Though Kalin claimed his country was not against the Kurdish participation, only that of the PYD, which his country views as the Syrian franchise of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), thus a "terrorist" group.

Russia regards neither the PYD nor the PKK as a terrorist group.

Several hours after the remarks from Turkey, PYD's newly-elected co-chair of Shahoz Hasan was quoted on Reuters about his advocating a decentralized and secular model of governance for Syria.

Hasan said he was eager to take part in the talks to end the six-year-old war that has made millions of Syrians homeless and has killed hundreds of thousands.


Editing by Sam A.