Turkey has criticized Russia for inviting and holding talks with the YPG, a group that is affiliated with the outlawed PKK in Syria, and called on its partner to act in line with the Astana group principles that prioritize the territorial and political unity of the war-torn country.
“We regret the invitation of a group composed by the Syrian Democratic Council under the influence of the terrorist YPG to the Russian Federation and the high-level reception by the Russian authorities,” read a written statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Aug. 31.
The reaction came on the same day Turkey dispatched a high-level delegation under the leadership of deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal to Moscow for talks on Libya and Syria. The ministry said Turkey’s reaction against the move will be conveyed to the Russian authorities by Önal during the talks.
Turkey considers the YPG as a terror organization while Russia allows the group to have a permanent office in Moscow for years. The YPG is a threat to Syria’s unity and its neighbors’ national security, said the ministry, recalling that fight against terrorism was one of the points the Astana Group has always stressed, referring a three-way mechanism by Turkey, Russia and Iran for Syria.
“We expect the Russian Federation to act in line with the commitments of the Astana meetings as well as the spirit of Astana and refrain from steps that would help PKK/YPG-affiliated groups,” it said.
Libya on the agenda, too
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin is expected to lead the Russian delegation.
The latest consultations between the two countries took place in July in Ankara, which resulted in an idea of creating a joint working group on Libya. Turkey and Russia are supporting the rival sides in the Libyan conflict, but they keep the channels open like they do in Syria.
The talks in Moscow follows a ceasefire announced by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and the House of Representatives in Tobruk.
Both countries have preferred to remain silent on the ceasefire that stipulates the creation of a demilitarized zone in Sirte and Jufra, two strategic cities linking the country’s eastern parts to the west.
Hurriyet Daily News