Astana has no chance of success without Kurds: PKK foreign relations head

Riza Altun, PKK foreign relations head in Qandil (ANF)

Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) foreign relations head, Riza Altun, has said talks in Astana have no chance of success without Kurdish participation.

Speaking to the Firat News Agency (ANF) from the Kurdish group’s bases in Qandil mountains several days before the Astana talks, Altun said only a democratic Syria could resolve the current crisis in the country.

“If Kurds, Assyrians, Yazidis, Christians, Muslims and other sects and groups do not have their rights recognised then neither a democratic Syria will be created, nor this chaos overcome,” Altun said.

The PKK foreign relations head told the ANF that the most suitable solution to the crisis was what they called democratic confederalism; a system formulated by the group’s imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan, and one that the dominant Kurdish parties in northern Syria also aspire to.

“Democratic confederalism is the most suitable solution for Syria. Like the North Syria Democratic Federation, other federal regions and entities in which everyone can find representation need to be created.”

Commenting on the Geneva and Astana talks, Altun said that both the US and Russia were insincere and had sacrificed the Kurds to curry favour with Turkey and the Syrian government.

“Russia and America think they are in a position to use which ever party they want for their own purposes. There is great insincerity here. Can the issue be resolved with this insincerity? America is using Geneva and Russia Astana to forward their agendas.

“By not inviting Kurds to Geneva they bankrupted these talks, now they are doing the same in Astana. A solution that excludes all the forces of the Democratic Syria Federation has no chance of success. Trying to bring about a solution by denying their agency is only possible by massacring [these forces].”

A Kurdish-led multi-ethnic federation was declared in the north of Syria in March 2016. Called the Northern Syria Democratic Federation, the entity held a conference in December 2016 to “further the federal project”.

In a recent statement the Federation’s Constituent Assembly refused to recognise any decisions taken at the Astana meeting.

Turkey has objected to federalism in Syria with the claim that a Kurdish entity will form on its southern border. Ankara also accuses Kurdish forces in Northern Syria of being affiliated to the PKK, who Turkey has been fighting a 30-year insurgency against.