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'Autonomy cannot be declared unilaterally', says Davutoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said one of the most important outcomes of his recent Iraq visit was that "it highlighted the need for great cooperation between Turkey and Iraq against the Sunni-Shiite conflict, the stirring of which has been attempted in the context of Syria."

Addressing the Syrian conflict in an interview to Turkish NTV, Davutoglu emphasized that "Turkey has never been a part of the Syrian conflict based on a sect or ethnic group." 

Davutoglu also rejected claims suggesting Turkish relations with Al Qaeda by saying, "Turkey has not taken any step that will put the country in a wrong position in front of the Syrian people."

Regarding the declaration of autonomy by the PKK-affiliated PYD in northern Syria, FM Davutoglu said, "such autonomy cannot be declared unilaterally."

Davutoglu reminded of his suggestion to PYD leader Saleh Muslim that the group should distance itself from the Assad regime and be part of the opposition.

Touching on his November 10-11 visit to Iraqi, Davutoglu stressed that Turkey and Iraq have been carefully approaching each other since March and this situation had led to the easing of tension. 

Emphasizing that Turkey never sees any ethnic group or sect as political tools, Davutoglu said, "Some people may consider this as a chess game or conflict of interests, but we have never used the moral values of a nation as a 'political card.'  Some tried to attribute sectarianism to Turkey, and these groups also tried to prevent Turkey's increasing power and the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) activism in the domestic and international arena. "

Referring to his warm welcomed by Shiites in Najaf and Karbala, he said, "They knew very well that we have never excluded or marginalized them. I, personally want to spend the month of Muharram every year in Karbala, Najaf with our brothers there."

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