US, EU are not with Turkey in terror fight: Erdoğan
“They say they are standing with us in the anti-terror fight when we meet bilaterally. But we don’t believe that. You are not with us. If you were with us, you would not protect them with your police forces,” Erdoğan said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
He blasted the U.S. over the display of posters showing jailed PKK head Abdullah Öcalan in Syria’s Raqqa following its recent liberation from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“They hung up posters of the chief terrorist [Öcalan] in Raqqa. How will the U.S. explain that? It says the PKK is a terrorist organization. EU countries also say that. But they hung up a poster of the chief terrorist on a building in France during a live broadcasting on their state TV station and the police just watched. How will they explain it? Is that solidarity in counterterrorism?” Erdoğan said.
The United States is “compromising the future of Turkey and Syria” through its cooperation with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also said, after the Pentagon reiterated the U.S.’s determination to work with Kurdish forces in Syria in the fight against ISIL.
“The display of the picture of the head of the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK there [in Raqqa] hugely harms the U.S.-Turkey alliance. With this attitude, the U.S. is not only in cooperation with a terrorist group, it also compromises the future of both Turkey and Syria,” Yıldırım said on Oct. 20.
Late on Oct. 19, the Pentagon had stated that the U.S. will continue to work with the SDF, a militant group dominated by the Syrian Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), in the fight against ISIL.
“We are working with the SDF. We work to help them focus on fighting ISIL. That is our sole responsibility, our sole commitment,” Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White said in response to a reporter from Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.
“We will continue to work by, with, and through the SDF to ensure that we defeat ISIS,” White added.
Yıldırım blasted the Pentagon’s position, reiterating that Ankara regards the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the YPG as offshoots of the PKK, which is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the U.S.
“We have always said to our ally U.S. that it is trying to cooperate with one terrorist organization in order to destroy another terrorist organization,” he said.
“What more does the U.S. need to see in order to understand that the PYD and the YPG are terrorists?” Yıldırım added.