Türkiye says in constant dialogue with Russia over presence of Kurdish militia in Syria

ANKARA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Türkiye and Russia have been in constant dialogue over the presence of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow, Russia, on March 5, 2020. (File photo: Sputnik/Handout via Xinhua)

On his flight back home from Ukraine, Erdogan told reporters that a possible Turkish military operation against YPG was an important topic of his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia's Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Aug. 5, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

"At the moment, our security forces, intelligence agency and defense ministry are in contact with Russia for every step we take in Syria," Erdogan was quoted by Anadolu as saying.

However, Türkiye and Iran failed to have "effective" cooperation against the YPG elements in Syria, he noted.

Asked about the possibility of establishing a political dialogue with the Syrian government, Erdogan said dialogues are always there as "political dialogue or diplomacy between states can never be cut off."

The Turkish president also urged the Syrian government to adopt a new constitution "as soon as possible," noting Türkiye attaches importance to the territorial integrity of Syria.

Since May, Erdogan has been saying that Ankara is planning to launch a new military operation in Syria against the YPG in an effort to link up two areas under Turkish control in northern Syria near the Turkish border, as part of the efforts to create a 30-km-deep safe zone along the border.

Türkiye sees the YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the United States and the EU and has been rebelling against the Turkish government for over 30 years.

The Turkish army launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020 in northern Syria.