Turkey's Deputy PM Arınç criticizes signs of unifying Kurdish 'cantons' in Syria

Published 16.06.2015 10:43

Turkish deputy prime minister Bülent Arınç said on Monday that there have been signs that Kurdish forces have sought to "bring together cantons" in Syria.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç's statement came after the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) gained control from ISIS of the city of Tal Abyad, which borders Turkey.

Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD), of which the YPG is the military unit, announced in November 2014 that all Kurdish areas in northern Syria would declare the regions autonomous, as cantons, which is not internationally recognized.

Turkey considers PYD to be an offshoot of the outlawed PKK, which has for decades waged a bloody insurgency in the country. PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

"This time people of the bombed places were ethnically cleansed by the PYD and YGP, as well as ISIS, these are strange relationships and alliances [...] We are seeing signs of a work that is underway on a formula to bring together the cantons," said Arınç.

Arınç stated that Turkey would not close its borders to Syrians seeking refuge, as their lives were in danger.

"Turkey is the only country that opens it arms to the oppressed," said Arınç, adding that there were currently 1.6 million Syrian refugees in the country.

He also added that this situation was "not something sustainable" and said: "The free world, Western countries, democratic countries which believe in human rights must surely know that the task [to aid refugees] also falls on them."

Almost 17,000 civilians from Syrian villages and towns have crossed the border into Şanlıurfa in the past two weeks, as the YPG had been carrying out operations with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in the northeastern regions of Tal Abyad and al-Hasakah to push back ISIS militants.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu hosted an ad hoc meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the large-scale arrival of refugees from Syria to Turkey late Sunday. A letter has also been written to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and G7 group foreign ministers, according to Turkey's deputy prime minister.

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