Neither the current regime under President Bashar al-Assad nor any “terrorist organization” has a place in Syria’s future, Turkey’s top national security body has reiterated, while also pledging to take measures to compensate civilians for damages incurred during ongoing deadly operations in Southeast Anatolia.
A regular meeting of the National Security Council (MGK), which brings together top civilian and military officials, lasted for almost seven hours on Jan. 27, as Ankara has been increasingly alarmed over the prospects of the inclusion of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in planned U.N.-backed talks on Syria.
“It has been stated that neither the current regime nor any terror organization, especially DAESH and the PYD-YPG [the PYD’s military wing, the People’s Defense Units], should participate in constructing Syria’s future,” the MGK said in a written statement released late on Jan. 27, following the meeting.
Ankara considers the PYD and YPG to be offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and it has threatened to boycott the talks if the PYD is represented.
Referring to the ongoing conflict with the PKK, the MGK said the group had been “destroying schools, health institutions and mosques, forcing citizens to migrate by use of pressure and violence and killing even babies” and vowed determination in the fight against the PKK.
“It has been stated that the struggle against the organization, which aimed at the unity and integrity of the nation with its inhumane terror activities, is being conducted within the rules of law and by showing sensitivity to life and the property and safety of citizens and that measures to eliminate the victimization of our citizens who have been harmed will be taken,” the statement said.
Domestic and international rights groups, however, have excoriated the government for a pursuing a conflict that has left hundreds of civilians dead.
As of Jan. 27, authorities widened a curfew in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır province. Hundreds of locals, including children and the elderly, fled curfew-bound areas of Diyarbakır’s Sur district as gunfire and blasts resounded and police helicopters flew overhead, a Reuters witness said. Some people cried as they carried away possessions.
Southeastern Turkey has endured its worst violence in two decades since a 2-1/2-year-old cease-fire between the security forces and the PKK militants collapsed in July, reviving a conflict that has killed 40,000 people since 1984.