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 Turkey won't allow "terrorist" groups at Syria border: FM

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Turkey won't allow "terrorist" groups at Syria border: FM  27.7.2012  







 
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday Turkey would not allow what he called "terrorist" groups like the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or al Qaeda to establish a presence in Syrian Kurdish region near the Turkish border. Photo: Reuters   See Related Links
July 27, 2012

ISTANBUL,— Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday Turkey would not allow what he called "terrorist" groups like the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or al Qaeda to establish a presence in Syrian Kurdish region near the Turkish border.

Davutoglu did not specify what steps Turkey could take to prevent activities by such groups along its 911-km (566-mile) frontier with Syria, which is in the throes of 16-month crackdown on a popular uprising that has claimed 17,000 lives.

"We will not permit a terrorist group, whether it is the PKK or al Qaeda, to set up at our border. This has nothing to do with ethnicity," Davutoglu said in a live interview with Kanal 24 television channel.

"No one should wait for Turkey to take unnecessary risks, no matter what the situation is. But if there is a terrorist structure targeting our border security, taking measures is our right and our duty," he said.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey could act against a "terrorist" organization in northern Syria if it perceived it as a threat -- a warning to Kurdish militants believed to be active in the region.

Erdogan's talk of a possible intervention marked a new escalation in tensions between Turkey and Syria,www.ekurd.net at odds since President Bashar al-Assad failed to heed Ankara's calls to quit to make way for a political transition.

"We want the transition in Syria to be complete as soon as possible," Davutoglu said.

The comments from Erdogan and Davutoglu also indicate the government's concern about the growing influence of Syria's Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is linked with the PKK.

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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