U.S. ‘coordinated with’ Öcalan for Kurdish state in Syria – Yeni Şafak

The United States “coordinated with” the leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) to establish a Kurdish state in northern Syria, Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Şafak said.

PKK’s leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has remained in jail in Turkey since 1999, sent letters to the U.S. Special Envoy Brett McGurk, offering consulting services on request, the paper said.

“We are ready to cooperate with you not only in Syria and Iraq, but in the reshaping of the entire Middle East,” Yeni Şafak quoted Öcalan as saying to McGurk, who coordinates U.S.-led coalition’s fight against Islamic State.

“The U.S. implemented Öcalan’s recommendations” until 2015, Yeni Şafak said. Turkey’s military offensives in 2016 and 2018 into Kurdish-held regions in Syria ruined those plans, it said.

Turkey was involved in a "Kurdish opening", including high profile peace talks between Turkish state officials and figures associated with the PKK, until it broke down in 2015.

Prior to 2015, Brett McGurk had been working as a U.S. State Department official on Iraq and Iran until he was appointed in 2014 as a Special Presidential Envoy tasked with defeating the extremist jihadist Islamic State, which captured a large territory in Syria and Iraq that year.

The PKK, which launched a separatist insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984, is listed as a “terrorist organization” by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish militia as an offshoot of the PKK and blames the United States for risking Turkey’s security by supporting the Kurdish forces in its fight against the Islamic State.