Published July 28, 2013
ISTANBUL (AFP) – The head of the main Syrian Kurdish party said Sunday that Turkey had changed its position and would provide the Kurds in the war-ravaged country with humanitarian aid.
"A promise has been made. Turkey is going to help our people in all areas. That is to say it will provide humanitarian aid," said Saleh Muslim, co-president of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), in an interview published Sunday in the Turkish daily Milliyet.
"I can say that Turkey has changed its attitude towards the PYD. The simple fact that I am here already shows the biggest change," said Muslim, who was invited to Istanbul by Turkey's foreign ministry and met Turkish officials on Friday.
The PYD is the main Kurdish party in Syria and is considered a branch of Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). It has taken control of some Syrian towns on the border with Turkey.
Turkey has warned the PYD against any push for autonomy in the border region as Ankara continues negotiations with the PKK with the aim of finding a political solution to the Turkish Kurd insurgency that has been going on since 1984.
On Friday Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that during the discussions the PYD would be warned about any "dangerous schemes".
However, Muslim Sunday described the discussions with Turkish officials as "positive".
The Syrian Kurdish leader said his movement had no intention to proclaim autonomy in northern Syria, but that the Kurds needed to "be in charge of the region temporarily" while waiting "for a political solution in which everyone -- Kurds, Turkmen, Arabs -- finds their place."