World Bulletin / News Desk
Head of the autonomous Kurdish government in Iraq's north, Masoud Barzani, has called on Syrian armed Kurdish group Democratic Union Party (PYD) to put a stop to its "unilateral policies" which he says benefit neither itself nor the Kurdish people in northern Syria.
Barzani issued a written statement on Thursday critical of what he says PYD's "fait accomplis" in claiming near-autonomy in the northern region and the group's failure to abide by binding agreements previously agreed-upon among Kurds.
"PYD claims to have achieved revolution in Rojava (northern Syria). Against whom? All they did was claim ownership of territory handed to them by the (Syrian) regime," Barzani said in his statement.
PYD is alleged to be trying to carve out an autonomous Kurdish entity in Syria's north.
It has been battling Al-Qaeda-linked opposition groups near the border with Turkey, causing a spillover of violence into the neighboring country that has resulted in scores of deaths in southern Turkish cities.
Barzani criticized what he perceives as PYD’s disregard for a common Kurdish cause with other parties that claim to work towards it.
"PYD has not complied with the Irbil Agreement, and chased away all parties. It has declared itself an armed force through a fait accomplis, by way of coercion and clandestine deals with the regime," Barzani's statement continued.
"A PYD that acts alone benefits neither itself nor the Kurdish people."
The Irbil Agreement marks Barzani's effort to unite the Kurdish groups in Iraq and Syria.
The deal was a result of a conference in July of last year that saw PYD and Kurdish National Council (KNC) join forces under the umbrella organization named the Syrian Kurdish Supreme Council. However, differences between the two groups led the cooperation initiative to largely fall by the wayside.
In May, PYD controversially declared itself as the representative of the Kurdish population in Syria, a move that angered the Barzani government, which has stated its intention to have a multilateral Kurdish political landscape.
Barzani also accused PYD of colluding with the Syrian regime, a government which he claims ignores Kurds' rights and demands, and of risking to squander an opportunity to advance the Kurdish population in Syria.
Davutoglu: PYD should make clear who it sides with
In a similar tone, the Turkish foreign minister has also called on the PYD to make clear who it is siding with.
“The PYD must make a decision on whether it is against the Syrian regime or siding with the regime. Is the PYD aiming to play a role in the future of Syria by siding with a regime that has oppressed the Kurdish people for decades?” said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Saying that Turkey has never differentiated between the groups in Syria by their ethnic or religious affiliations, Davutoglu noted that Turkey has pursued a principled policy in Syria and expected to be treated with a similar policy.
“In this chaotic situation, some local authorities may emerge. However, any attitude that would pave the way for the internal fragmentation of Syria means playing with fire. We have always emphasized that our Syrian Kurdish brothers have the same rights as Arabs, Turkmens and Nusayris [Alawites] in Syria. However, in the recent period, the PYD is carrying out serious actions against our Turkish brothers in the regions that it controls with the regime,” said Davutoglu.
“I hope that new conflict fronts do not emerge in Syria,” added Davutoglu.
Regarding the situation in Syria's north, the Turkish government and the KRG have adopted a similar attitude, opposing the PYD's creation of a political entity in northwestern Syria under its own control.
The Turkish government and the KRG put their support behind the Syrian Kurdish National Council (KNC), a group that has agreed to join the main Syrian opposition body, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.
Davutoglu also noted that the positive atmosphere between the Syrian National Council and KNC should be encouraged.
Touching upon the upcoming visit of Massoud Barzani, president of the KRG, to Diyarbakır this weekend, Davutoglu said the visit would take place in an upbeat atmosphere.
Touching on reports that some circles are uneasy about the meeting between Erdogan and Barzani, Davutoglu stated that nobody should feel uncomfortable about the meeting.
“This visit is an indication of self-confidence and normalization. It is of great importance in terms of Iraq's unity and also Turkey's relations with the KRG,” added Davutoglu.