Greece hits out at Turkey over PKK terror claims ahead of Dendias visit

Greece slammed Turkey for accusing it of harbouring terrorists ahead of a planned visit this week by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to Ankara.

“We categorically reject every effort to tarnish Greece’s image through promulgation of unacceptable fake news,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a written statement at the weekend.

Greece was responding to a video published by the Turkish presidency claiming that it assisted terrorist organisations including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) against Turkey, providing a haven for the group’s members at a refugee camp.

“It’s time to end Greece’s impunity,” Fahrettin Altun, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s head of the communications, said when releasing the video via social media late on Friday.

The PKK is an armed group that has been at war with Turkey for Kurdish political autonomy for over three decades. It is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Over 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died in the conflict since 1984. 

“Questions are raised by the timing of the appearance of such ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said.

Dendias will visit Turkey on Wednesday when he will meet with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Political relations between Greece and Turkey have deteriorated in recent years over a range of issues including overlapping territorial claims to the eastern Mediterranean and access to hydrocarbons in the region. The neighbours re-started exploratory talks in January to end a five-year hiatus to formally resolve their differences.

Turkey published the video after reports in Greece last week that Ankara granted citizenship to Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the Voice of America said

Eight ISIS members received Turkish citizenship, Ankara Gazetesi reported citing a presidential decree that froze the assets of 86 people for alleged membership of the group.