Turkish FM warns against giving free hand to terrorists
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said peace efforts in Syria would remain elusive if terrorist organizations are given a free hand and weapons.
In an op-ed, 'This is how to bring peace in Syria', written in international Newsweek magazine, Çavuşoğlu said the U.S. support to PKK/PYD/YPG is "an effort going terribly awry".
The PKK/PYD and its military wing YPG are Syrian branches of the PKK terrorist network, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years.
Çavuşoğlu said: "The vision for a politically united and territorially integrated Syria will be elusive if separatist terrorist organizations are given a free hand and weapons to advance their goals."
Reiterating that the fight against terrorism cannot be won by siding with one terrorist organization against another, Çavuşoğlu said: "It is the very core idea of the NATO alliance that the security of an ally is prioritized over short-term tactical gains that only help create a vicious cycle of violence."
Çavuşoğlu also said that the Geneva process should be "resuscitated".
"Paying lip service to its primacy as the essential platform in the political process takes us nowhere. The international community has to make the best out of all means at its disposal."
Discussing a presidential summit in Russia's Sochi city last November, he said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had laid down two conditions for the upcoming Sochi congress in January.
They include: "a clear and strong link with the UN-mediated Geneva process" and "a clear rejection of anyone affiliated with terrorist organizations, including PYD/YPG".
Sochi is the designated venue of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, set to be held on Jan. 29-30 with the participation of nearly 1,700 people.
Çavuşoğlu called the Syrian conflict "the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II" which led to "the emergence of a global threat".
He said that Turkey had suffered the most from terrorist organizations such as Daesh, Nusra Front and PKK/PYD/YPG.
He added that Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army had cleared a 2,015-square-kilometer Syrian territory from Daesh and eliminated 2,647 terrorists.
"Turkey spent $30 billion to meet the needs of 3.4 million Syrians seeking refuge in their northern neighbor. Free access to medical care, education, as well as the right to join the labor force have been extended to our Syrian guests to help them better integrate into their host society," Çavuşoğlu said.
Çavuşoğlu added: "Almost 70,000 Syrians have returned from Turkey to the liberated areas."
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.