(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
Turkey Has No Problem with Syria’s Kurds, Says Defense Minister
Turkey’s commitment to fighting terrorist organizations such as ISIS, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated by Ankara as a terror group, and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the largest component of the Syrian Democratic Forces that Turkey considers an extension of PKK in Syria, and others, has not changed.
“We don’t have any problems with Kurds or any other ethnicity,” Akar said in a speech delivered Sunday at the 19th Doha Forum held in Qatar.
“Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria is a counter-terrorism effort and does not target a specific ethnicity.”
He noted that the world is going through a sensitive stage, in which risks and parties threatening international relations have increased.
Extremist groups pose a threat not only to their own countries but also to the international community, Akar stressed, adding that every weapon given to the YPG was transferred to the PKK to target Turkey.
Turkey is ready to hold talks and cooperate with all parties that wish to spread peace and security in the world, he said.
Akar further noted that Turkey is one of the states most affected by terrorism and is now facing several terrorist organizations that pose a direct threat to its security and stability.
Ankara does not seek to change the demographic structure in the region or get involved in an ethnic cleansing of Kurds, Akar said, referring to the Operation Peace Spring launched in October 9 to eliminate Kurdish fighters from northern Syria, east of the Euphrates River.
He said the operation also aims at securing Turkey’s borders, aiding in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensuring Syria’s territorial integrity.
Turkey only aims to protect all civilians regardless of their ethnic background, the region and the civilian infrastructure in Syria, Akar added.
Meanwhile, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani described the role of his country, Turkey and Russia in resolving the Syrian crisis as “very important.”
He made his remarks at the 12th Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) meeting in the southern Turkish city of Antalya.
The three countries sponsor the Astana talks for a political solution in Syria as guarantor countries despite the differences in their goals.