PKK leader insists that group has contact with US

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal
ANKARA
Published 24.08.2015 20:10

Despite constant denials from U.S. officials, Cemil Bayık, a senior leader of the PKK terrorist organization, insists that the group has contacts with the U.S. Bayık, known as the second leader of the PKK, gave an interview to Die Welt on Sunday from PKK headquarters in northern Iraq's Qandil Mountains. In the interview Bayık reiterated that his group has contacts with the U.S. While Bayık alleged that the U.S. could not acknowledge this relation due to diplomatic reasons, he said the U.S. should act as a mediator regarding the Kurdish issue.

Speaking to the British Daily Telegraph newspaper last week, Bayık claimed that the PKK has started indirect talks with the U.S. "Of course there are messages, there are meetings, letters, and there are likely to be more," Bayık said regarding their contact with the U.S., urging the U.S. to engage in mediation with Turkey.

Answering the claims, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said last week that the U.S. is not in indirect talks with the PKK. "Absolutely not, this is a foreign terrorist organization," he said, and added that nothing has changed about the United States's position regarding the PKK.

However, in his interview with Die Welt, Bayık said the U.S. wanted Turkey to participate in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and so was taking Turkey's sensitivity into consideration and using diplomatic language, which is why U.S. officials deny any relations with the PKK. Regarding a question about whether the U.S. approved Turkey's operations against the PKK, Bayık said: "They do not state it clearly, but if the U.S. did not approve them, they could not have done it. The U.S. knows that the Kurdish freedom movement is the one that fights against ISIS most effectively. The U.S. needs both Turkey and the PKK in the international coalition against ISIS. This is why there are contradictory statements."

The PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU, has killed 50 security officials since it unilaterally ended the cease-fire on July 11, which was declared in a message from the PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan in 2013. In response to the violent terrorist attacks, the Turkish military has carried out airstrikes on PKK hideouts and has reportedly killed 930 terrorists while 500 terrorists have reportedly been injured and 230 have surrendered in the last 33 days.

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