Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the US of supporting PKK “terrorists” and other militant groups, dismissing America’s statement condemning the murder of thirteen Turks in Iraq as “ridiculous.”
The US condemned the killings of the Turkish kidnap victims on Sunday, with US State Department spokesman Ned Price stating that “The United States deplores the death of Turkish citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” making clear that, if the PKK was responsible, the US condemns “this action in the strongest possible terms.”
Erdogan rejected America’s “ridiculous” statement and called on the US to stop supporting the “terrorist” PKK, as well as the YPG and PYD, which Ankara sees as linked to the PKK.
If we are to continue this union with you in the world, in NATO, you will not stand by the terrorists.
Thirteen Turkish citizens were killed in northern Iraq last week by Kurdish fighters aligned with the PKK, according to Ankara’s military chief. The fatalities came after Turkey finished a military operation in the region, which killed 48 Kurds and three Turks during three days of fighting.
In a veiled attack on the United States and terrorist organizations that have threatened Ankara, the Turkish president warned that “there is neither a terrorist organization, nor a pawn power that can stand in front of the Turkish Army.”
Ankara wants the US to recognize the PKK as a terrorist organization, with Erdogan highlighting that this is “not the PKK’s first massacre of civilians.” The Biden administration has, so far, resisted these calls and continued the previous military support that America has given to the PKK and YPG.
Following Erdogan’s declaration, Turkey summoned the US ambassador in the country to reiterate “in the strongest terms” the president’s feeling that America’s statement was “ridiculous”.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, has sought to secure autonomy for Kurds in part of Turkey for several decades. The Turkish government sees the party as a terrorist organization and has sought to crack down on its leaders and supporters. Ankara’s leadership views the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in a similar manner, deeming it an offshoot of the PKK that operates in Syria.