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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

US, EU not standing with Turkey in terror fight: Erdogan

Iran Press TV

Fri Oct 20, 2017 05:01PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at the United States and the European Union for their support for militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), saying they are "not standing with Turkey" in its fight against terrorism.

"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," Erdogan said at the D-8 Summit in Istanbul on Friday.

The Turkish president made the remarks after the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) unveiled a large picture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned in Turkey, in the center of the Syrian city of Raqqah following the city's liberation from the Daesh terrorist group this week.

Militants from US-backed SDF on Sunday launched an operation to retake the last pocket of the northern Syrian city of Raqqah, which served as Daesh Takfiri terrorist group's de facto capital in the war-ravaged Arab country.

On June 6, the SDF said it had launched an operation aimed at pushing Daesh out of Raqqah.

Turkey considers PKK as a terrorist group and is fighting a bloody insurgency it waged inside the country since 1984, leaving tens of thousands of people dead.

The Turkish president denounced the display of the PKK leader's pictures and said, "They [Syrian Kurds] hung up posters of the chief terrorist in Raqqah. How will the US explain that?"

"It [the US] 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?" Erdogan said.

PKK, which seeks independence through militancy, is designated as a terror group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also on Friday slammed the US support for Kurdish forces and said Washington is "compromising the future of Turkey and Syria" through its cooperation with the SDF.

"The display of the picture of the head of the PKK there [in Raqqah] hugely harms the US-Turkey alliance. With this attitude, the US is not only in cooperation with a terrorist group, it also compromises the future of both Turkey and Syria," Yıldırım said.

He reiterated that Turkey regards the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) as offshoots of the PKK.

"We have always said to our ally US that it is trying to cooperate with one terrorist organization in order to destroy another terrorist organization," the Turkish premier said.

He added, "What more does the US need to see in order to understand that the PYD and the YPG are terrorists?"

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White said Washington would continue to cooperate with the SDF.

She said, "We are working with the SDF. We work to help them focus on fighting ISIL (Daesh). That is our sole responsibility, our sole commitment."

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