Turkey summons U.S. ambassador as Erdoğan slams Washington for supporting terrorists

(Re-leads with summoning of ambassador, updated with statement from EU Turkey delegation)

Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticised Washington for supplying weapons to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Ankara has expressed its strong reaction to the U.S. envoy over a U.S. State Department statement of conditional condemnation following the killing of 13 Turkish citizens by the PKK in northern Iraq, Hürriyet newspaper cited the ministry as saying.

Turkish officials on Sunday announced that 13 Turks, including military and police personnel,had been executed by the outlawed group amid a military operation targeting the organisation in the Gara region of northern Iraq.

Last week, the militants warned that the hostages’ lives were under threat from a Turkish military bombardment of a camp in the region.

The U.S. State Department's condemnation the killings on Sunday questioned whether the PKK was behind the killings.

''If reports of the death of Turkish civilians at the hands of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization, are confirmed, we condemn this action in the strongest possible terms,” Ned Price, spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said in a statement.

Earlier on Monday, Erdoğan said it was time for theUnited States to stop supporting terrorist groups during a televised speech in his home city of Rize in northeast Turkey.

“The U.S. has given them weapons and they have fought against us,” Erdoğan said. “If we are going to be together within NATO, you will side with us, not terrorists.”

“There is a statement made by the United States, it is something else,’’ Tele1 news site cited Erdoğan as saying, referring to Price’s statement. “Was it not the case that you are not on the side of the PKK and the YPG? You are most certainly are on their side and behind them.’’ 

Turkey considers the the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG) to be a terrorist organisation, due to alleged ties with PKK, an armed group that has fought for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since the 1980s. YPG, acting as the armed forces of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was a key element in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) under the U.S.-led international coalition.

The EU Turkey delegation on Monday offered its condolences to the Turkish public over the killings.

Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, head of the delegation, expressed his regret over the “terror attack in #Gara, Iraq where PKK killed 13 Turkish citizens.''