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00:30, 20 February 2017 Monday
Update: 09:44, 10 September 2013 Tuesday

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PYD may open office in Ankara
PYD may open office in Ankara

A senior Turkish official stated that Turkey had not received a request by the group to open an office in Ankara yet.

Saleh Muslim, the leader of the most powerful Syrian Kurdish group, has stated that the group may consider opening an office in Ankara. Speaking in an interview with Sterk TV, Muslim, the head of Syria's Democratic Union Party (PYD) -- an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), said depending on the relations between the PYD and Turkey, the group may bring the topic of opening an office in Ankara onto the agenda during talks with Turkish officials.

A senior Turkish official, who spoke to Today's Zaman on the condition of anonymity, stated that Turkey had not received a request by the group to open an office in Ankara yet. "We will consider the issue when they make a request," said the official.

“We are still at the bottom of the ladder. The meetings will fall into place. As we are not a state currently, we cannot make a request with the Turkish Foreign Ministry,” said Muslim, adding that the demands of both Turkey and the PYD coincide with each other.

A delegation from the Foreign Ministry wrapped up its talks with Muslim for the second time in İstanbul in mid-August. Muslim paid a two-day official visit to Turkey for the first time in late July when Ankara said it would not take any part in the ongoing fighting between Kurdish groups and radical groups for control of the northern Syrian towns bordering Turkey. Turkish officials also had talks with Muslim in Cairo at least once.

Muslim stated that the PYD never considered Turkey a hostile state and never planned to harm the country. “Turkey very recently began to understand us. We always preferred dialogue and we followed this up with visits to Turkey. Both the PYD and Turkey had suspicions about each other. These were all because of misunderstandings. We support the establishment of friendly ties with Turkey. This needs time. We are having talks with the Turkish Foreign Ministry based on mutual respect,” said Muslim.

Although Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan previously confirmed that officials from Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) will warn Muslim against making any unilateral moves to establish an autonomous Kurdish political structure in northern Syria, Muslim added that the PYD is not having talks with MİT but solely with officials from the Foreign Ministry. “When Turkey has good relations with us, it will gain the sympathy of all Kurds because the eyes of all Kurds are on Rojava [Syria's north],” said Muslim.

In a move to assuage Ankara's concerns, the PYD had earlier said it poses no threat to Turkey's territorial integrity and called for broader cooperation with Ankara against radical groups fighting in northern Syria.

Turkey has already warned the Kurdish group that it would not allow a de facto autonomous Kurdish administration in Syria which would be carved out by the PYD taking advantage of the opportunity of the situation of conflict in Syria. The PYD, in return, assured Turkey that such an administration would only be an interim one in order to deliver the needs of the people in the region controlled by the PYD. The PYD leader again assured Turkish officials that there is no planned declaration of a fait accompli Kurdish autonomy in the region, the sources confirmed.


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Press agenda on February 19
Press agenda on February 19

Here are the main topics World Bulletin’s English Desk plans to cover Sunday Feb. 19, 2017 (coverage may change depending on developing/breaking stories): BAGHDAD Iraqi forces launch an offensive on jihadists defending Mosul's west bank, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the city. 700 words 0530 GMT by Ammar Karim and Jean-Marc Mojon US-militant-Egypt-prison,2ndlead WASHINGTON The sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian-born cleric linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, dies at 78 in a US prison facility after a long battle with diabetes and coronary artery disease. 650 words moved by Maggy Donaldson. File Picture Ukraine-Russia-conflict,WRAP MOSCOW A truce between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine will come into force Monday, Moscow and Kiev say, though some separatists are already labelling it unfeasible. 500 words moved by Anais Llobet Entertainment-film-festival-Germany,WRAP BERLIN Hungary's "On Body and Soul", a love story set in a slaughterhouse, wins the Golden Bear top prize at the Berlin film festival, Europe's first major cinema showcase of the year. 700 words moved by Deborah Cole. Picture. Video Also moved: Entertainment-film-festival-Germany-prizes,FACTS Entertainment-film-festival-Germany,POINTS Entertainment-film-festival-Germany-winners,CHRONO -- ASIA -- NKorea-Malaysia-diplomacy-community,SCENE KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia's only North Korean restaurant promises a glimpse into life in the reclusive state but it has been shuttered since news broke of the assassination of leader Kim Jong-Un's brother, with security guards turning customers away. 650 words 0600 GMT by Elizabeth Law. Picture. Video -- AMERICAS -- US-politics-Trump-Melania,lead MELBOURNE, Florida First Lady Melania Trump, usually a demure and soft-spoken presence at her husband's side, breaks with form, reciting the Lord's Prayer before issuing a scathing rebuke of his enemies and her critics at a campaign-style stop in Florida. 600 words moved by Michael Mathes with Stephanie Griffith in Washington. Picture. Video. US-media-politics-technology WASHINGTON As President Donald Trump warns of a crackdown on US government leaks to media, interest is growing in technology tools that allow sources to share information anonymously. 750 words moved by Rob Lever Venezuela-politics-opposition-US CARACAS Venezuela and the United States lock horns again over political prisoners held by Caracas, including over the detention of a jailed opposition leader whose supporters took to the streets of the capital to demand his release.