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Syrian Kurdish parties to boycott Antalya summit | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat – A group comprised of 12 Kurdish political parties in Syria have announced that they intend to boycott the Kurdish Syrian opposition summit that is scheduled to take place in Antalya, Turkey at the end of the month. These parties informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “the active political parties in the Kurdish region of Syria whose well-known leaders and representatives have been invited to attend this summit have informed their representatives that they intend to boycott the Antalya summit, saying that any such meeting held in Turkey can only be a detriment to the Kurds in Syria, because Turkey is against the aspirations of the Kurds, not just with regards to northern Kurdistan, but in all 4 parts of Kurdistan, including the Kurdish region of Syria.”

Five prominent Kurdish political parties in Syria announced that they will not take part in the Kurdish Syrian opposition summit due to be held in Antalya, they are; the Kurdish Democratic Party of Syria [KDP] that is led by Dr. Abdul Hakeem Bashar, the Kurdish Leftist Party [in Syria], the Kurdish Azadi Party, the Kurdish Future Movement, and the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party.

Asharq Al-Awsat spoke with a number of Kurdish political leaders based in Syria, who all unanimously agreed on the collective decision taken by the Kurdish political parties.

Faisal Yussef, a senior member of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “our position with regards to not attending this summit is based upon the general Kurdish position, and so long as the Kurdish parties have unanimously agreed not to attend this summit, we will abide by that decision in order not to cause division within the Kurdish ranks, especially during this sensitive time in the history of our people.”

Yussef revealed that “some Kurdish party leaders in Syria previously welcomed the holding of such a summit, considering this to be important; however they backtracked from this position and announced a boycott” adding that “this is strange.” Despite this, Yussef stressed that “we do not want our people to take a different position on this issue in order not any division of the Kurdish people” adding that “we will abide by the decision of the Kurdish parties and their position on boycotting the forthcoming summit.”

For his part, Kurdish Leftist Party leader Saleh Kado told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Kurdish parties unanimously agreed to boycott the summit, especially as this is being held in Turkey which has negative attitudes towards the Kurdish issue in general.”

He added that “the Turkish leadership should first resolve the issue of 20 million Kurds living within their territory before seeking to bring together the Kurdish Syrian parties [in Turkey] to come to an agreement on a unified project with regards how to deal with the current events [in Syria].” Kado stressed that “we, the Kurds in Syria, do not trust Turkey or its policies, and that is why we have decided to boycott the summit.”

Whilst Mustafa Ibrahim, a senior leader within the Kurdish Democratic Party of Syria, told Asharq Al-Awsat that his party’s leader, Dr. Abdul Hakeem Bashar was invited to attend the Antalya summit, but that “he stressed that he will not go against the strong decision taken by the Kurdish political forces in Syria, in order to preserve Kurdish unity and discourse.”

Kurdish Future Movement representative Mohammed Hammo told Asharq Al-Awsat that he had been informed of the Kurdish parties’ boycott of the Antalya summit by telephone from within Syria, but did not possess much information about this. Hammo, who is based in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, stressed that “there are many problems with regards to the telephone communication between ourselves and leaders within the [Syrian] interior, we rely upon the internet to stay in contact with them; therefore until now I have yet to receive all the details about this position.”

Contrary to the position of the majority of the Kurdish political figures who unanimously agreed on the boycott of the Antalya summit, as it is being held in Turkey, Hammo said that “as Kurds, we should take advantage of every opportunity to discuss the future of our people and nation; I do not favor boycotting a summit of this [political] weight, particularly in light of the sensitive and critical situation in Syria today.” Hammo said that “boycotting this summit is a huge mistake” although he stressed that this was his own personal opinion. Hammo also revealed that he intends to attend this summit in his own personal capacity, not as a representative of the Kurdish Future Movement, after being personally invited to attend.