PYD not a terrorist organization, US repeats
WASHINGTONThe United States has reiterated that it does not perceive the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) as a terrorist organization, while adding that it understands ally Turkey’s concerns regarding the organization, a few days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked the U.S. to either support Ankara or the PYD.
“We don’t, as you know, recognize the PYD as a terrorist organization,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby on Feb. 8 during a daily press briefing, adding that they knew and understood that Turkey recognized the PYD as a terrorist organization.
“Even the best of friends aren’t going to agree on everything. Kurdish fighters have been some of the most successful in going after Daesh inside Syria,” said Kirby, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
Erdoğan denounced a visit by the U.S. envoy to the coalition against ISIL, Brett McGurk, to Kurdish-controlled northern Syria, underlining the “mistrust” the visit has created in Ankara over the nature of Turkey’s “partnership” with the U.S.
Look, [U.S. Vice President Joe] Biden arrived with an assistant. He is a national security official whose name has earlier ben cited with Mr. Obama too. Just during the meetings in Geneva, he travels to Kobane. He receives a plaque from a so-called general in Kobane. How will we trust? Am I your partner or are the terrorists in Kobane?” Erdoğan asked, while speaking with reporters en route from Dakar to Istanbul as he wrapped up a Latin America tour that covered Chile, Peru and Ecuador.
Kirby said they had provided support, mostly through the air, to the PYD, which he said would continue.
“But it doesn’t mean that we’re – that we’re not willing to continue to discuss the concerns that Turkey has raised, and we’re going to do that. They are an ally. They are a friend. They are a partner. And as I said in my last answer, we’re going to continue to work to improve that partnership,” Kirby said.
Turkey considers the PYD and its military wing, the People’s Defense Units (YPG), terrorist organizations that are offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“Even though we understand they have concerns about support for Kurdish fighters in Syria … they have been nothing but open and honest about their concerns with that,” Kirby said.
“We in turn have been open and forthright and honest about how we need to move forward as a coalition to go after this group [ISIL],” said Kirby, adding that Turkey’s concerns were not new.