Italian politician holds talks with PYD, wants PKK off terrorist list

FATIH ŞEMSETTIN IŞIK @semssami
ISTANBUL
Published 24.06.2015 20:14

Italy's Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) party leader Nichi Vendola said organization in a press meeting that was held after accepting a delegation of the PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) on Tuesday that his party tabled a motion to delist the PKK as a terrorist.

A delegation led by PYD Co-Chair Salih Muslim is holding official talks in Rome within the Italian Foreign Ministry, Chamber of Deputies of Italian parliament and the SEL leadership.

It is reported that as the Kurdish delegation came together with Chamber of Deputies President Laura Boldrini on Tuesday and Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni held an official closed-door meeting with them. The delegation is also scheduled to pay a visit to Milan and Palermo in the coming days.

According to reports in the Italian media, the delegation is seeking financial support for the reconstruction of Kobani and to receive military aid for fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

In the press meeting held following the contacts in Italian parliament, Vendola indicated that his party has proposed a bill to parliament to remove the PKK from Italy's terror list.

However, concerning the PYD's affiliation with the PKK, Muslim has said before that they have never been the PKK's Syrian branch and denied the alleged affiliation. In an earlier interview answering a question about whether the PYD takes orders from the PKK, he said: "We do not have organic links with the PKK. We are, however, in contact with them as we are in contact with all the other Kurdish parties. The PYD doesn't take orders from anyone."

Turkey considers the PYD an offshoot of the PKK, which the U.S. and EU also list as terrorist organizations.

Turkish officials have claimed several times that the PYD is the same as the PKK and that Turkey would not accept any accommodations made to the group simply because it was fighting ISIS.

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