Ankara condemned The Washington Post on late Wednesday for its publication of an article that was penned by a senior figure of the PKK, a terrorist organization recognized by Turkey, the U.S. and EU for decades and responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands people in Turkey.
"Through the said publication, one of the core commitments undertaken by the international community, namely the principle of the prevention of the incitement of terror has heavily been violated. It is essential that no distinction should be made among the terrorist organizations," a Foreign Ministry statement said.
Cemil Bayık, one of the founders and current leaders of the PKK terrorist organization who has been on both Ankara and Washington's most wanted lists, wrote an article in the Washington Post on Wednesday entitled, "Now is the moment for peace between Kurds and the Turkish state. Let's not waste it." In the article, Bayık defined Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK terrorist group, as a "lead negotiator" for the Kurdish people, misleading his current position.
Bayık makes no effort to hide the bloody history of the PKK, stating outright that the terror group launched a "guerilla war" against Turkey, claiming "we were left with no choice but to resort to armed resistance."
Öcalan, who founded the PKK in 1978, was captured in 1999 and sentenced to death due to his role in the terrorist group's decades-long campaign against the Turkish state, which led to the deaths of more than 40,000 people. After abolishing of the death penalty in Turkey in 2002, Öcalan's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He is being held in a high-security prison on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara.
"The aforementioned stance has been capitalized on by the PKK as a tool of terrorist propaganda and is in contravention of the sensitivity displayed regarding other terrorist organizations such as Daesh and al-Qaida. Hence, it constitutes a new and fatal example of hypocrisy in the fight against terrorism," the statement added.
In November 2018, the U.S. Department of State's Rewards for Justice program authorized up to $12 million of rewards for information leading to the identification or location of three senior members of the PKK terrorist group. Bayık was one of these leaders, whom Washington also approved up to $4 million in rewards for information on his whereabouts.
He is the main culprit of a car bomb attack which killed 35 people in Ankara's central Kızılay Square in March 2016. Four days before the attack, Bayık told The Times that their main aim was to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development (AK Party) government.
Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın also condemned the article on Wednesday. "The Washington Post, which provided space for a terrorist that is on the list of terror organizations of the U.S. and the EU and has a set bounty on his head by the U.S. administration, openly makes propaganda for terrorism and violates U.S. law," Kalın said in a written statement.
Asserting that this article did not fall into the category of freedom of press and expression, Kalın said the daily's actions were tantamount to publishing an article from a member of the al-Qaida or Daesh terrorist organizations.
To portray the head of a terrorist organization as the representative of the Kurds is, above all, an insult to the Kurds, Kalın said. He stressed that Turkey would pertinaciously continue to fight against all forms of terrorism and its supporters.