Repub­li­can US rep­re­sen­ta­tive writes let­ter on PYD-PKK ties

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

STEVEN Chabot, a mem­ber of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, sent a let­ter to his col­leagues in the U.S. Con­gress to draw at­ten­tion to the Syria-based Demo­cratic Union Party’s (PYD) link with the PKK, which is des­ig­nated as a ter­ror­ist group by the State Depart­ment, ref­er­enc­ing an ar­ti­cle by Daily Sabah on Oct. 19 on the sub­ject of PKK leader Ab­dul­lah Öcalan’s posters in Raqqa.

A LEAD­ING mem­ber of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has sent a “Dear col­league let­ter” to his peers in the U.S. Con­gress about the Syr­i­abased Demo­cratic Union Party’s (PYD) con­nec­tion to the U.S.-des­ig­nated PKK ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Steven Chabot, a Repub­li­can from Ohio who also chairs the House Small Busi­nesses Com­mit­tee, said in his let­ter that he wanted to draw at­ten­tion to a re­cent piece in Daily Sabah that high­lights the PYD’s sup­port for the PKK, “which has been des­ig­nated as a ter­ror­ist group by the State Depart­ment.” The let­ter was elec­tron­i­cally de­liv­ered to hun­dreds of Rep- re­sen­ta­tives.

Since the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion de­ci­sion in 2014, the U.S. mil­i­tary has been work­ing with the PYD and its mil­i­tary wing, the Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG), against Daesh in Syria, de­spite the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment’s re­sent­ment. U.S. gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials con­tinue to deny that the PYD is the Syr­ian wing of the PKK, yet grow­ing ev­i­dence and the ma­jor­ity of Syr­ian ex­perts sug­gest that the two are part of the same or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Last week, the YPG erected a gi­gan­tic poster of PKK founder and leader Ab­dul­lah Öcalan in Raqqa, in­fu­ri­at­ing Turkey and the U.S. State Depart­ment, which con­demned the move and said Öcalan doesn’t merit ven­er­a­tion.

Rep. Chabot’s let­ter in­cluded Daily Sabah’s Oct. 19 story on the Öcalan posters in Raqqa.

U.S. of­fi­cials on a Se­nate panel in the U.S. Con­gress in April 2016 ad­mit­ted that there were links be­tween the PKK and the PYD and its armed-wing, the YPG.

Then Sec­re­tary of De­fense Ash­ton Carter an­swered in the af­fir­ma­tive when asked by Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham whether the PYD and the YPG are aligned with the PKK ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Ad­mit­ting the link be­tween the PKK and the PYD, Carter ac­knowl­edged that the PKK is a des­ig­nated ter­ror­ist group by the U.S. and Turkey but de­nied Ankara was up­set by U.S. air and equip­ment sup­port for the mil­i­tant group's off­shoot in Syria.

Sen. Gra­ham told him that he had re­cently been in Turkey and the gov­ern­ment there was not happy with U.S. sup­port for a ter­ror group.

"They think this is the dumb­est idea in the world, and I agree with them," Gra­ham said.

He said that Ankara has been asked by Wash­ing­ton to do more in the fight against Daesh. Gra­ham also said he does not be­lieve the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment's ar­gu­ment is "ab­surd."

"If you are won­der­ing why Turkey is a lit­tle up­set, we are arm­ing peo­ple in­side Syria who are aligned with a ter­ror­ist group. That is the find­ing of the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment," he said.

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