Congress' invitation to terrorist leader will be dark stain in US history, Turkish official says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 02.11.2019 11:27
PKK-linked People’s Protection Units (YPG) terrorist leader Ferhad Abdi Şahin, also known as Mazloum Kobani seen in this photo among terrorist members. (IHA Photo)
PKK-linked People’s Protection Units (YPG) terrorist leader Ferhad Abdi Şahin, also known as Mazloum Kobani seen in this photo among terrorist members. (IHA Photo)

Turkey has warned U.S. officials that their invitation to Ferhad Abdi Şahin, a high-ranking terrorist codenamed "Mazloum Kobani," will not only damage bilateral relations but also against the law as Şahin is sought with a Red Notice issued by the Interpol.

Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said Şahin was the "ultimate proof" of the superficial distinction drawn between the PKK and the People's Protection Units (YPG).

YPG is the Syrian wing of the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU, and the U.S.

"Those who invited Ferhat Abdi Şahin are not only damaging U.S.-Turkey relations but also potentially committing a crime under U.S. law," Altun said.

Altun continued by noting that the Turkish people will not forget U.S.' attempts to legitimize a senior terrorist figure by inviting him to Washington: "Our NATO ally's efforts to glorify a terror leader will be etched in our memory for many years."

"The American support for this terror organization will be a dark stain in its history and be taught as a textbook example of a foreign policy fiasco," Altun said, adding that the U.S. Congress should instead invite the families of the victims of the PKK and apologize to them, rather than inviting a terrorist leader.

Şahin is the commander-in-chief of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG, an armed terror group that operates as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.

The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union and has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

Interpol currently has a Red Notice warrant out in Şahin's name for playing a crucial leadership role in the PKK-linked YPG.

He is the adopted son of the PKK's imprisoned founder Öcalan, who is now serving a life sentence in a Turkish prison.

Şahin is also sought by the Turkish Interior Ministry with a red notice. The ministry divides its "wanted" list into five color-coded categories, with red marking the most wanted and dangerous. The ranking is followed by blue, green, orange and gray, depending on the sensitivity of the suspect's criminal activity. The terrorist leader's involvement in the PKK goes back to 1996 when he engaged in militant activity in Turkey's southeastern Hakkari province.

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