Turkey has vetoed the participation of the PKK-affiliated Kurdish militia PYD/YPG in a planned Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the Black Sea region of Sochi. The Russian special envoy confirmed that the Kurdish organisation will not participate in the peace talks.
Turkish officials, who visited Astana to discuss the forthcoming Congress in Sochi with their Russian and Iranian counterparts, reaffirmed Turkey’s stance on this issue, according to diplomatic sources speaking under the condition of anonymity. The National Dialogue Congress is scheduled for 29 January.
Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to turn Moscow’s military intervention in Syria into a political solution that takes Russia’s strategic interests into account.
„The provisional list of participants of the future Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi includes „a large number“ of Kurds, but no members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)“, said the special envoy of Russia’s President for Syria Aleksandr Lavrentiev to Interfax, as cited by the media on Friday. He confirmed to reporters:
„The participation of the PYD is not foreseen for now.“
„We have tried to ensure the widest possible presence of the Kurds without our Turkish colleagues being rejected“, Lavrentiev continued.
Putin held telephone conversation with Erdogan
Putin, who ordered the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria last week, spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday by telephone about the peace process.
According to a report in the Russian daily Nesawissimaya Gazeta, the bilateral and multilateral consultations in Astana on 21 December showed once again that Turkey and Iran are against PYD/YPG. This is a rare report that confirms Tehran’s rejection of the Kurdish organisation.
The Turkish authorities have repeatedly stated that they reject the presence of PKK-affiliated groups in talks with Syria. Ankara means essentially the YPG militia and its political arm PYD. The organisation is regarded by Turkey as a Syrian branch of the PKK, which conducts an armed struggle against the Turkish state for over 30 years. Ankara and numerous western states list the PKK as a terrorist organization.
The eighth round of peace talks to end the Syrian conflict began on Thursday in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana and will end on Friday.
The Turkish delegation will be chaired by the Deputy Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sedat Önal, while Alexander Lavrentiev, the Special Representative of the Russian President for Syria, will chair his delegation and Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari will chair the Iranian delegation.
Representatives of the Syrian Government, armed opposition groups and delegations from the United Nations, Jordan and the USA will also participate in the talks.