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Turkish FM: Turkey supports Free Syrian Army, Peshmerga

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu: Syrian opposition fighters and Iraqi Kurds are legitimate forces fighting against ISIL.

Turkish FM: Turkey supports Free Syrian Army, Peshmerga

AYDIN, Turkey

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated his country's support for the Free Syrian Army and the Iraqi Peshmerga fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant at Kobani.

Cavusoglu said Free Syrian Army is the only armed group in the region which fights for all Syrians, unlike the Democratic Union Party and ISIL.

"PYD and ISIL both have the goal of controlling a specific part of Syria and seizing the region's rich resources," Cavusoglu said.

The Kurdish parliament in Iraq decided Thursday to send peshmerga forces -- Iraqi Kurdish fighters -- to join in the fight to defend Kobani.

"We want legitimate powers to control the area and fight against ISIL, therefore we can support the Free Syrian Army and peshmerga," the foreign minister said. "The peshmerga is the security force of Iraq Kurdish Regional Government, established by the constitution of Iraq."

Cavusoglu also said that Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the death of 300,000 Syrians and the displacement of nearly 10 million others. 

About 1.5 million refugees have fled the Syria conflict into Turkey. About 180,000 of these Syrians came recently from the Syrian border town of Kobani, which has been under a relentless attack by ISIL since mid-September.

Turkey has kept its allies, Europe and the U.S., informed, about the developments in the region and Turkey's position for some time now.

"Kobani is strategic for us, because it is near our border," said Cavusoglu. "We have provided information to U.S. President Barack Obama, to Secretary of State John Kerry, and to our friends in Britain and the EU about ISIL's acitivites since October 2013, when Turkey acknowledged ISIL as a terrorist group."

However, Cavusoglu said, there is no real strategy and consistency about the developments in the region; ISIL cannot be stopped with airstrikes.

Cavusoglu recalled that Turkey is being fair to the Kurdish people through the implementation of the solution process -- a long-term peaceful and cooperative solution for the Kurdish people.

Cavusoglu also accused the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party,  and the Vice-Chairmans of the opposition Republican People's Party, of provoking the latest spate of nationwide Kurdish protests in support of the Kurdish forces at Kobani. About 40 people were killed in those violent demonstrations.

"People who voted against the parliamentary motion authorizing the use of force against ISIL are now blocking the solution process," he added.

Meanwhile, Cavusoglu had a phone conversation on the latest terror attacks in Iraq with the Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari. 

Al-Jaafari is expected to visit Turkey in the upcoming days.



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