Turkish interior minister blasts U.S. over reward offer for senior PKK officials

Turkish Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu on Monday harshly criticised the United States over its recent announcement of millions of dollars in rewards for information leading to three senior members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), independent news site T24 reported.

 The U.S. Department of State on Nov. 6 announced that it had has authorized rewards totalling USD $12 million for information leading to the identification or location of Murat Karayilan, Cemil Bayik, and Duran Kalkan, three top members of the PKK, an armed group that has been at war for autonomy in Turkey for over 30 years. 

Both the United States and Turkey designate the PKK a terrorist organisation.

‘’It is as if they are mocking us. They have taken two ministers off their sanctions list and placed three terrorists in their place,’’ Soylu said, in an apparent reference to himself and  Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul, who the U.S. placed sanctions on earlier this year during a diplomatic row between Washington and Ankara.

‘’They are trying to tell us ‘There is no difference between your minister and a terrorist. And we’re supposed to buy into this [move],’’ Gül added.

The United States lifted sanctions imposed on two top officials in Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s cabinet on Nov.2 as the two NATO allies sought to normalise ties in the wake of a bitter dispute over an array of issues including American support for Syrian Kurds and Ankara’s determination to purchase a Russian air defence system.