Turkey’s interior minister says U.S. officials met with Marxist group in Syria

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Tuesday that Turkey had detailed information about a meeting in Syria early this month between U.S. officials and a left-wing Marxist organisation that Turkey considers a terrorist group, Hürriyet daily reported.

Soylu said Turkey was aware of the powers who had been backing the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting inside Turkey for more than three decades and has been designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union. 

This week, Turkey and the United States are setting up an operations centre in Turkey’s southeastern Şanlıurfa province to oversee a planned safe zone in northern Syria, which Ankara says is essential to prevent the threats from the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG). 

Turkey sees the YPG, which  forms the backbone of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (ISIS), as an offshoot of the PKK. According to multiple reports, militants of the Turkey-based underground outfit the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) have been fighting alongside the YPG in Syria for several years. 

“A short while ago, 14 days ago, in a place in Syria, Americans met the MLKP,” Hürriyet quoted Soylu as saying in a television programme. 

“We know what they discussed,” Soylu said. “Also with whom. Name by name, with whom. We are a state and we have to know these. They had all kinds of tasks. Military, diplomatic.”