PKK calls on US to choose between ‘Kurds and democracy or Turkish government’

Leading members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) during a meeting thought to be in the group's Mount Qandil bases.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has released a statement condemning Turkish airstrikes on Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq and called on the US to make a choice on who it supports in the region.

Calling the Turkish government a “fascist alliance” between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli, the PKK’s statement said “all-related parties” needed to “declare who they side with.”

“Fascist AKP [Turkish government] officials stated that the attack was carried out with the knowledge of the US, European Union, Russia and KDP. When this is the case, we call on all related parties to make their stance clear and to declare who they side with; either with the Erdogan-Bahceli fascist dictatorship or a Democratic Turkey and Free Kurdistan,” read the statement, published on ANF news agency.

The Kurdish group also said the strikes had started a “new phase” in the region, suggesting that the war between the Turkish army and Kurdish groups would escalate.

Claiming that it had shown “great attention and sensitivity” in its war, the group accused the Turkish government of not reciprocating and international powers of not “standing against the fascist Turkish forces’ de facto invasion of Syria and Iraq.”

In a statement several hours after the airstrikes on Tuesday, the Turkish military had said it had carried out the airstrikes on PKK and affiliates’ positions from where attacks against Turkish forces had been prepared and conducted.

Turkey has vowed to prevent a Kurdish-led autonomous region from emerging in northern Syria and has said it will not allow the PKK to set up bases in Shingal.

The Kurdish group, which has fought a three-decade insurgency against Ankara for autonomy, trained and armed the Yazidi Shingal Resistance Units (YBS) after the Islamic State (IS) onslaught on the region in 2014.

The PKK is also thought to have affiliation with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) but denies control over the Syrian Kurdish fighting force. The US also differentiates between the two group and is backing the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), despite Turkey’s protestations.

Commentators have accused Turkey of using the PKK as a pretext for targeting Kurdish gains in the region.

The PKK, outlawed by Turkey, the EU and US but not Russia and the UN Security Council, is seen as having the most support among Kurds.