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 Davutoglu says Turkey not against Kurdish autonomy in post-Assad Syria

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Davutoglu says Turkey not against Kurdish autonomy in post-Assad Syria  10.8.2012  

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu answering question raised by the members of the press Photo: AA 
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August 10, 2012

ANKARA,— Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said Turkey would not be opposed to a possible autonomous Kurdish region in Syria [Syrian Kurdistan] following the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, if all groups in the country can agree on it, Turkish Todays Zaman reported.

Davutoğlu's comments came as he spoke to reporters aboard a plane carrying a Turkish delegation to Myanmar on Thursday. Stating that Turkey is not against the improvement of Kurds' rights in Syria, the foreign minister recalled that he had met with leaders of the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Kurdish National Council (KNC) during a visit he paid to Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan region in Iraq's north.

“I told them, the leader of the SNC chairs the council as a Syrian Kurd. And you [KNC] are sitting here as Syrian Kurds. Sit down and come to terms. What we oppose is the threat of terrorism and the possibility of one of you claiming possession of somewhere. Elections should be held in Syria; a parliament should be formed that includes Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs. You can come together and say we will grant autonomy [to the Kurds]. This is up to you. We would not oppose that,” Davutoğlu said.

Turkey announced it strongly opposes the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Syria's northern Kurdish cities along the Turkish border following the withdrawal of Assad's forces from predominantly Kurdish-populated areas to fight opposition forces in Damascus and Aleppo. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier warned that Turkey will intervene if “terrorist formations” emerge along its border.

Davutoğlu also reiterated that Turkey will take all necessary steps against PKK threats in some northern Syrian Kurdish cities, such as Afrin and Kobane, accusing the Syrian administration of aiding these groups. “Assad gave them weapons. Yes, this is not a fantasy. It is true. We have taken the necessary measures against this threat,” he added.

Over 20 million Kurds live in Turkey (northern Kurdistan). Estimated to over 12 million Kurds who live in Iran (Eastern Kurdistan). Nearly 3 million Kurds live in Syria (Western Kurdistan). 4 million Kurds live in Iraq (Southern Kurdistan).

The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem, Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.

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