NEW YORK—Ankara is ready to work with the international community to combat the Islamic State (ISIS), Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Rudaw on Sunday, insisting that the government of President Bashar al-Assad is the real cause of Syria’s turmoil.
“We are ready to work with any country to combat ISIS because ISIS is a threat to all of us,” said Davutoglu in New York. “But we should not forget that three years ago there was no ISIS. Who created ISIS? Assad’s crimes and tyranny created ISIS.”
He said that by bombing moderate Syrian opposition forces, the Assad regime had helped the rise of ISIS, particularly in the Raqqa region.
“Assad bombed the Raqqa region in order to drive out the moderate Syrian opposition and let ISIS come into those areas,” he said.
The Turkish Prime Minister believes that ISIS is used by the Assad regime to legitimize its war against the Syrian people and the opposition forces.
“ISIS’s existence has helped Assad to tell the international community ‘Helping me is important to fight ISIS’,” he maintained. “In fact, these are two evils helping each other. If any country helps one of them against the other, that country is helping both of them.”
Davutoglu said the world should seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Syria where neither ISIS nor Assad will have a place.
“Now, all countries, including Russia, should work together for a peaceful solution,” said Davutoglu. “In the new Syria there should be no place for either Assad or ISIS."
On the Kurdish question, Davutoglu said that Turkey is not against Syria’s Kurds and that Ankara supports their gains as long as they work together with other moderate opposition forces.
“The Kurds of Syria, like the Turkmen and Arabs, are our relatives,” he said. “We will support any achievement they have that is gained by working together with other moderate Syrian forces.”
He added however, that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) should make its position in the war clear, and most importantly severe ties with Damascus and the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK).
“But in the meantime, the PYD that coordinates with the Assad regime and has ties with the PKK which attacks Turkey, should make their position clear that they have no ties with the regime and end their ties with the PKK,” said Davutoglu.
“Any party that has ties with the PKK is against Turkey,” he added. “For any threat coming from ISIS or the PKK Turkey has the right to defend itself. But we will support the Kurds as a people among the Arabs and Turkmen of Syria.”
“We will never tolerate any terrorist activity on the other side of our border with Syria and Iraq, if there is any threat to Turkey by Daesh and PKK-link groups Turkey will have right to defend its border and security,” Davutoglu insisted.
“They are two evils supporting each other,” Davutoglu described Assad and ISIS. “If any country supports one evil against the other one, in fact helping both evils.”
“What we need to do is to have solidarity with all countries including Russia to make a transition in Syria.” Davutoglu called. “In the new Syria there should not be any place for Assad or Daesh.”