Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu strongly criticized Western countries over their “double standards” and “selective approach” to terrorism, a day after 13 Turkish citizens held hostage by the PKK were brutally executed in northern Iraq.
Çavuşoğlu expressed his frustration on Twitter on Sunday regarding the West's stance.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement offering its condolences over the killing of Turkish citizens five hours after Çavuşoğlu’s message.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that if reports that the PKK was responsible were confirmed, they “condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”
In a joint news conference with his Ethiopian Counterpart Demeke Mekonnen, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey has always opposed terrorism and stood in solidarity with African countries in their fight against terrorism.
“We have never been hypocritical like many Western countries,” Çavuşoğlu said, adding that Turkey will continue to target terrorists at home and near its borders.
“Countries claiming to be fighting terrorism are either silent on PKK massacre or trying to slur over it with ifs and buts,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Turkish officials consistently criticize Western counterparts for their selectivity and using “buts and ifs” in condemning terrorist acts. They argue that terrorism needs to be strongly condemned regardless of who the perpetrators are.
For instance, on Sunday, the U.S. sent truckloads of military assistance to the YPG, the PKK’s Syrian offshoot, in Qamishli from northern Iraq.
The U.S. primarily partnered with the YPG in northeastern Syria to fight Daesh. Turkey strongly opposed the terrorist group’s presence in northern Syria and the formation of a terror corridor, which has been a major sticking point in strained Turkey-U.S. relations. Ankara has long objected to the U.S.' support of the YPG, a group that poses a threat to Turkey and terrorizes local people, destroying homes and forcing them to flee.
Turkey has also criticized European authorities for tolerating PKK activities in their countries and has pressured them to take stricter measures against the propaganda, recruitment and fundraising activities of the group.
The PKK terrorist group continues using the European Union’s territory for propaganda, recruitment, fundraising and logistical support activities, according to a report by the EU’s law enforcement agency released this June.
Europol’s annual terrorism report, titled “European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2020,” suggested the PKK is actively engaged in propaganda activities as well as collecting money in European countries.
On Sunday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the bodies of the Turkish citizens were found during Operation Claw-Eagle 2, which Turkey launched on Feb. 10 to prevent the PKK/KCK and other terrorist groups from reestablishing positions used to carry out cross-border terror attacks.
Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle were initiated last June to ensure the safety of the Turkish people and Turkey’s borders.
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