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News > World

Turkey: Kurds Should Be Excluded from Syria 'Cease-Fire'

  • A YPG fighter walks near a wall, which activists said was put up by Turkish authorities, on the Syria-Turkish border in the western countryside of Ras al-Ain, Syria.

    A YPG fighter walks near a wall, which activists said was put up by Turkish authorities, on the Syria-Turkish border in the western countryside of Ras al-Ain, Syria. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 February 2016
Opinion

Turkey says it will not respect the cease-fire in the case of a threat to its national security, singling out the Kurds as an issue.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday that Turkey would not be bound by the Syrian ceasefire plan if its security was threatened, and would take "necessary measures" against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and Islamic State group if needed.

"If Daesh and Al-Nusra are kept outside the ceasefire, then the PYD-YPG must similarly be excluded from the cease-fire for it is a terrorist group just as they are," President Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish officials, using the name Daesh to refer to the Islamic State group. "Ankara is the only place that decides actions regarding Turkey's security."

The PYD, or Democratic Union Party, is the political arm of the YPG. 

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The proposed cease-fire in Syria, drafted by Russia and the United States and set to go into effect this week, could be complicated by NATO member Turkey's deep distrust of the Washington-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which has made territorial gains in northern Syria near the Turkish border. Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist group and fears it will further inflame unrest among its own Kurdish population.

RELATEDSyria Talks Threatened by Disputes over Who Is a 'Terrorist'

A YPG spokersperson told Reuters on Wednesday it would abide by the plan to halt fighting, but reserved the right to respond if attacked. Turkey has shelled YPG positions in Syria in recent weeks, saying it was retaliating to cross-border fire.

Turkey is not the only party threatening to disregard the latest cease-fire proposal. Russia, Syria and the United States have all announced that they will continue attacks on groups they consider "terrorist."

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