Turkey condemns U.S. annual terror report
Turkey condemned a U.S. State Department terrorism report that failed to name the main Syrian Kurdish armed group and the secretive Islamist Gülen movement among terrorism threats to Turkey.
The Nov. 1 report mentions the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decades-long insurgency in Turkey, several times, but not the People's Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian Kurdish group that led the U.S.-backed ground war against Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, nor the Gülen movement, a former ally of Turkey’s Islamist government.
"This attitude is one of the most obvious examples of a double-standard approach to terrorist organisations, which we are sorry to see so often recently," the Turkish Presidency said in a statement.
Turkey sees the YPG as the Syrian arm of the PKK. The United States lists the PKK as a terrorist organisation, but not the YPG, which denies links to the PKK and formed the backbone of U.S.-backed forces that territorially defeated ISIS.
The Turkish government says the Gülen movement, whose members rose to positions of influence after the ruling Islamist party came to power in 2002, carried out a 2016 coup attempt in which some 250 people were killed.
"We would like to recall once again that the fate of those getting into bed with terrorist organisations is to be eventually bitten by that poisonous snake," the Turkish statement said.
Turkey has mobilised a range of Syrian jihadist groups to fight Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Questions have also been raised about Turkey’s role in Syria after U.S. forces late last month killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a Syrian village only 5 km from the Turkish border in Idlib province, an area controlled by Turkish-backed Islamists in which Turkish troops also operate.