US warns PYD not to support PKK in Turkey
GENEVA – Anadolu Agency
AA photoThe U.S. on March 2 called on the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria to not support the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey.
Addressing Turkish concerns about links between the PYD and its armed wing – the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) – and the PKK, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Turkey’s cooperation was “vital” in Syria.
“Turkey is one of our closest allies. Its collaboration in dealing with the crisis in Syria is absolutely vital and we are indeed working very closely together with it,” Blinken said in a news conference at the U.N.
“It is also not a secret that Turkey has expressed concerns about some of the Syrian Kurdish groups in northern Syria, including the PYD. We have made it very clear to the PYD that any actions it takes to either support the PKK or to engage the other opposition groups are profoundly problematic and we look to the PYD to act responsibly and to focus its efforts on the fight against Daesh [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant],” he added.
The PKK, with which Turkey has been in armed clashes since the mid-1980s, is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
Turkey also considers the PYD and its YPG military branch to be terror groups, but the West has refused to designate them as such.
The difference in the designation of the PYD and YPG has caused a rift between the two NATO allies.
Meanwhile, in an address to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, Blinken also stated that the U.S. was concerned at the “deteriorating human rights situation” in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which was annexed by Russia two years ago.
“Raids, arrests, baseless prosecutions and torture have become regular facts of life for civilians, especially for those in the Tatar community,” he said.
In Egypt, he said Washington was worried by “mounting allegations of abuses by security services, particularly arbitrary arrests.”