PYD equal to PKK, threat to Europe, British think tank says

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 18.08.2017 20:35
Updated 18.08.2017 20:36

While the U.S continues to support the Syrian PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, the neo-conservative British Henry Jackson Society think tank said in a report that the PYD is equal to the PKK and that its a threat to Europe.

The Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank, published a report on Aug. 17 that calls the PYD equal to the PKK, saying that Western volunteers joining the YPG are a threat to Britain and Europe.The report, titled "The Forgotten Fighters: the PKK in Syria," says: "Beginning in 2002, the PKK adopted a 'confederal model,' which meant creating ostensibly local organizations: in Iraq the PKK created the Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (PCDK); in Syria the PKK created the PYD and an armed wing known as the YPG; and in Iran the PKK created the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK)."

The report also says that people joining the YPG are aware there is no difference between the PKK and the PYD. The report says the only difference between the PKK and PYD is the uniform. "Some Western volunteers to the YPG, attracted by ideology, are fully aware that they are joining the PKK; that the only difference, as one put it, is the uniform," the report says. It also suggests that the northern Syrian, known as Rojava in Kudish, is a base for the PKK.

Putting emphasis on the PKK's terrorist attacks in Turkey, the report says: "The PKK waged a campaign of violence that included both targeted and indiscriminate aspects. Nurses, teachers, civil servants, and other 'state agents' were murdered by the PKK, and, as always, a particular example was made of Kurds that opposed it. Turkish cities were attacked by PKK suicide bombers. Collective punishment was inflicted on villages that sided with the state and accepted money to construct militias that tried to keep the PKK out. The PKK's conduct in these years amounted to crimes against humanity, according to human rights groups."

The report says that returning YPG fighters remain engaged with the PKK's front organizations in Europe and that those who have ties with the PKK participate in the PKK's criminal and terrorist activities at home. It says the possibility of returning terrorists engaging in international terrorist activity must be taken into serious consideration.

The report also claims links between other leftist groups in the world and the PKK. It says that leftist groups joining the PKK for training in Syria will pose a security threat to Britain and Europe. It pointed out the increase in leftist terrorist attacks in Europe, saying that 27 terrorist attacks in Europe were perpetrated by leftist groups. It said that people participating in PKK activities are more prone to engage in terrorism. "A number of disturbed individuals joined the YPG primarily attracted by the prospect of inflicting violence; their acquisition of training in the use of firearms and explosives presents a risk. There is some suggestion that such individuals are more susceptible to being socialized into an ideology and eventually into terrorism."

The report suggests Western states reduce the space for PKK propaganda, saying: "The PKK is not given any more space to build additional political constituencies and leverage within the West."

Calling returned YPG fighters are a moral, political and diplomatic threat to Europe, the report suggests methods for Western states to prevent the PKK from distributing propaganda. It suggests that Western states close down the PKK's media outlets and maintain counter-propaganda that explains the PKK's history, its authoritarian nature and its raft of crimes. "Another method would be to give a platform to more critical perspectives. Kurdish opposition sources, who have been persecuted by the YPG and some of the minority populations that have found life under the YPG a struggle could be given space and prominence to share their experiences," the report says. "If extremist or unbalanced individuals are moved to carry out a domestic terrorist attack, it is not desirable that such individuals pass through PKK training camps, where they are taught how to use weapons and bombs, and gain experience in urban warfare."

It says the YPG is getting the benefit of foreign fighters in its ranks: "The YPG is happy for foreigners in its ranks to be 'martyred' because it helps their strategic messaging."

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry released a graph showing that participation in the PKK has decreased 89 percent in the first seven months of this year compared to last year.

According to the Interior Ministry statement, the number of recruits to the PKK is 61 in the first eight months of 2017 whereas 570 people joined the PKK in the first eight

months of 2016. It also said that the number of PKK terrorists is increasing.

In a graph the ministry tweeted, 274 PKK terrorists surrendered to police in the first seven month of 2017.

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