Republican US representative pens letter underlying PYD's ties with PKK

RAGIP SOYLU @ragipsoylu
WASHINGTON
Published 29.10.2017 20:05

A leading member of the House of Representatives has sent a "Dear colleague letter" to his peers in the U.S. Congress about the Syria-based Democratic Union Party's (PYD) connection to the U.S.-designated PKK terrorist organization.

Steven Chabot, a Republican from Ohio who also chairs the House Small Businesses Committee, said in his letter that he wanted to draw attention to a recent piece in Daily Sabah that highlights the PYD's support for the PKK, "which has been designated as a terrorist group by the State Department." The letter was electronically delivered to hundreds of Representatives.

Since the Obama administration decision in 2014, the U.S. military has been working with the PYD and its military wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), against Daesh in Syria, despite the Turkish government's resentment. U.S. government officials continue to deny that the PYD is the Syrian wing of the PKK, yet growing evidence and the majority of Syrian experts suggest that the two are part of the same organization.

Last week, the YPG erected a gigantic poster of PKK founder and leader Abdullah Öcalan in Raqqa, infuriating Turkey and the U.S. State Department, which condemned the move and said Öcalan doesn't merit veneration.

Rep. Chabot's letter included Daily Sabah's Oct. 19 story on the Öcalan posters in Raqqa.

U.S. officials on a Senate panel in the U.S. Congress in April 2016 admitted that there were links between the PKK and the PYD and its armed-wing, the YPG.

Then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter answered in the affirmative when asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham whether the PYD and the YPG are aligned with the PKK terrorist organization.

Admitting the link between the PKK and the PYD, Carter acknowledged that the PKK is a designated terrorist group by the U.S. and Turkey but denied Ankara was upset by U.S. air and equipment support for the militant group's offshoot in Syria.

Sen. Graham told him that he had recently been in Turkey and the government there was not happy with U.S. support for a terror group.

"They think this is the dumbest idea in the world, and I agree with them," Graham said.

He said that Ankara has been asked by Washington to do more in the fight against Daesh. Graham also said he does not believe the Turkish government's argument is "absurd."

"If you are wondering why Turkey is a little upset, we are arming people inside Syria who are aligned with a terrorist group. That is the finding of the Turkish government," he said.

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