Turkey’s opposition to hold international conference on Syria

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced that the CHP will organize an international conference on Syria, the daily Haberturk newspaper reported on Thursday.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the CHP’s chairman said the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a key player in the US-led international coalition in its fight against Islamic State (ISIS), would not be invited to the conference, but that, adding that representatives from the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad would be invited.

The SDF’s central command structure is formed by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey regards as a terrorist group due to its affiliation with the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a rebellious group which has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey.

“Since they [the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)] have not organized [such a conference], we as CHP will do so. In the autumn, we will bring the matter of Syria to the table, inviting all the important international actors, except for those having links to terrorist organizations” said the CHP leader.

Kilicdaroglu said officials from the al-Assad regime would be at the same table with the regime’s dissidents in the conference which would be similar to the Geneva Conference.

In the Geneva Conference, held in 1954, the world’s powers, including the US, the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, France, and Great Britain, came together in an effort to resolve several problems in Asia, including the war between the French and Vietnamese nationalists in Indochina.

The CHP leader also touched on the AKP’s policy regarding Syria, calling on it to meet with al-Assad without any prejudice.

He said Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should leave his “current ground towards the Syrian regime” and talk to al-Assad.

“We are talking about Turkey’s interests, not Erdogan’s. In international politics, there is no place for vendettas,” said Kilicdaroglu.

A civil war broke out in 2011 in Syria between the al-Assad forces and anti-government rebels.

Moscow supports the al-Assad regime, while Ankara has been backing the rebels, notably the former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) which controls a region home to some 3 million residents, including most of Idlib and parts of Hama, Aleppo, and Latakia.

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