World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has criticized some groups operating in Syria, saying their brutal actions harm what he called the "revolution" in the neighboring country Today's Zaman reported.
Davutoglu, in remarks published on Thursday, also denied claims that Turkey is supporting these groups, which fight against President Bashar al-Assad's regime as well as the Syrian Kurds in areas near the Turkish border.
Certain groups have been clashing with Syrian Kurds affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), for the control of mostly Kurdish towns on the Turkish border since last week. The government, which has been a staunch supporter of the Syrian opposition fighting to topple Assad, is accused of providing logistical support for the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in their battle against the Kurds.
Noting that certain groups are involved in actions such as the killing of Islamic clerics or kidnapping of civilians, Davutoglu said such steps undermine "justified demands" for political change in Syria. "I consider such actions a betrayal of the Syrian revolution," he told the Radikal daily. "Therefore it is definitely not correct to present Turkey to be supporting radical groups," he added, noting, however, that Ankara's backing for the "legitimate Syrian opposition" continues.
Unconfirmed reports say fighters from places such as Libya, Chechnya or Afghanistan cross into Syria through the Turkish territory to join clashes with Kurds in the north Syrian towns of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad. Kurds accuse Turkey of facilitating their passage into Syria and offering them logistical support.
Ankara fears Kurdish control of the border territory could lead to unrest among its own Kurdish population and has warned that it would not tolerate any moves by the Syrian Kurds to establish autonomy.
Davutoglu said Turkey expected the Syrian Kurds not to cooperate with the Syrian regime and join the Syrian opposition fighting to topple the Assad regime, not to establish any de facto entity without consulting with other Syrian groups first, and not to engage in activities that could constitute a threat for security of the Turkish borders.
Two people were killed by stray bullets from Syria in the border town of Ceylanpınar, across the border from Ras al-Ain, since last week. The Turkish military has stepped up its reconnaissance flights over the border area recently and military vehicles were reportedly digging positions along the Syrian border in Ceylanpınar on Thursday. Armored combat vehicles were placed in these positions, the private Cihan news agency said.
Davutoglu said Turkey would take measures to secure its borders, irrespective of where the threat to security comes from.
The foreign minister had earlier said the Syrian Kurds' status within Syria should be determined after the establishment of a legitimate parliament in the war-torn country. The Syrian Kurds do not pose a threat to Turkey, although they do not rule out plans to create an autonomous Kurdish region.
Salih Müslim, the PYD leader, was quoted as saying on Wednesday that the PYD has agreed with other Kurdish parties in Syria on the establishment of a transitional government in the Kurdish areas of the country. An inter-party delegation that will carry out the preliminary work on the establishment of the transitional government will become operational in a month, he said in Arbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.
He said parliamentary elections in the Kurdish region are expected to be held in six months and that the Syrian Kurds are ready to live together with other Syrian groups as a federal region in a post-Assad Syria.Last Mod: 26 Temmuz 2013, 12:53