Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli said yesterday that Washington's decision to put bounties on three high-ranking members of the PKK terrorist organization is an attempt to separate the PKK's Syrian branch, the People's Protection Units (YPG), from the PKK and legitimize the former's existence in Syria.
"They said that they don't recognize the YPG as a terrorist group. This is the crux of the issue. It's just another deception story," Bahçeli said while addressing a MHP group meeting in Parliament. The U.S. authorized up to $12 million in rewards for information leading to the identification or location of the three senior members of the PKK, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people over a 30-year terror campaign against the Turkish state. However, Ankara cautiously approached the move since Washington continues to back the YPG, the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
Bahçeli asserted that Washington is trying to veil the YPG's actions with the bounties. "The PKK and YPG are the same thing. All terrorist groups that aim at Turkey with weapons should be eliminated," he said.
Erdoğan made a similar statement on Monday, saying the bounty move was belated. "We perceive it as a sham to prove the claim that the PKK, the Democratic Union Party [PYD] and the YPG are different groups. Even the YPG rejected the U.S. with a statement, declaring that they have a united structure [with the PKK]," Erdoğan told journalists on his way back from Paris.
Ankara sees no difference between the PKK and the YPG, saying both are the same terrorist group under different names. Washington, on the other hand, lists the PKK as a terrorist group, while supporting the YPG as a partner in its fight against Daesh.