Syrian Kurds do not expect change in Russian policy after Putin-Erdogan meeting

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Putin (L) and Erdogan (R). file photo

ARA News 

KOBANE – Officials of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (PYD) do not see a change in the Russian policy towards the Syrian Kurds, nor expect the closure of their office in Moscow, after the Russian and Turkish presidents met last Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow, for the first talks to rearrange relations after the November 2015 downing of a Russian aircraft by the Turkish army on Syrian border. 

The Turkish journalist Ragip Soylu wrote that the Turkish president Erdogan asked Putin to close down the PYD office in Moscow. However, Putin told Erdogan he didn’t know there was a PYD and YPG [Syrian Kurdish forces] office in the Russian capital, adding that he would closely follow the issue.

Speaking to ARA News, PYD leader Salih Muslim said that he haven’t heard about this news. “But our representation is legally opened there, and I don’t think it will be effective,” he said.

The co-head of the PYD told ARA News that he thinks the gap between Russia and Turkey is too big to heal, and that the recent deals are related to restoring economic ties.

“I think Russia and Turkey cannot reach an agreement on Syria,” he said. “As for the Kurds, they do not depend on Russia or the United States. They are helping each other to fight Daesh [ISIS]. They are protecting their areas and fighting.” 

The Syrian Kurdish leader added that Turkey should not oppose Kurdish participation in the Geneva talks.

“We are part of Syria, and we should deal with the Syrian forces to make some agreement to draw the future of Syria all together. No one has the right to exclude the Kurds,” he said. 

Ibrahim Kurdo, the foreign relations head of Kobane, told ARA News that Erdogan’s goal is to destroy the Kurdish accomplishments in Rojava [Syria’s Kurdish region].

“Turkey wants to repair its economic relations with Russia. There will be not much in the policy towards the Kurds, and our force comes from the people, not from Russia or America,” he said.  

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations told the RIA news agency that Turkey “should realize importance of the Kurds’ participation in Syria talks.”

“Turkey should realize the importance of the Kurds’ participation in talks over Syria, territorial integrity of which is in the interests of Ankara,” he said.

Speaking to ARA News, Russian analyst on the Middle East Timur Akhmetov said that Russia’s insistence on inclusion of the Syrian Kurds within the Geneva peace talks has several underlying motives. “Judging by the fact that Russia tries to present the Kurds as one of the moderate opposition groups, participation of the Kurds should add legitimacy to the upcoming negotiations,” he said. “It will be harder for other Syrian opposition groups to leave the table of negotiations.” 

“Now it seems that Russia is kind of awaiting something from Turkey. Either big concessions in terms of supporting the opposition, or Russia wants Turkey to pressure the Syrian opposition into the negotiations,” he added. 

Khaled Issa, the representative of Rojava self-administration in France, who met with the Russians several times, told ARA News that he sees no changes in the Russian policy towards the Kurds.

“Russia knows that without the Kurdish people there is no stability and peace in Syria,” he said. “When I met [Russian FM] Lavrov in May, he said that without the Kurds and the PYD there would be no solution in Syria.”

reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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