Erdogan summons the US ambassador in response to Washington’s position on the Turks killed in Iraq
On Monday, Turkey summoned US Ambassador to Ankara, David M. Satterfield, to protest the US stance on the killing of 13 Turks in Iraq who were detained by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels, considered weak by Turkish pro-governmental media. The news was announced by the Ankara Foreign Ministry.
“The US Ambassador, David Satterfield, has been summoned to the ministry, and he has been informed in the strongest terms of our position on the American statement,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.Turkey announced on Sunday soldiers from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) executed the prisoners, including Turkish military and police officials, amid a military service in northern Iraq where the group was keeping them.
US said it stood by fellow NATO member Turkey and that it condemned the killings if it was confirmed that responsibility lay with the PKK.Turkey, already irritated by Washington’s alliance with Kurdish fighters in neighboring Syria known as People’s Protection Units or YPG, was angered by the conditionality of the US report.
Turkish President Erdogan blamed the United States for supporting “terrorists”.“The statement made by the United States is a farce,” Erdogan responded on Monday. “You said you did not support terrorists, when in fact you are on their side and behind them,” Erdogan told in televised remarks, criticizing the White House, which failed to believe Ankara’s account of the event.
Turkey in early February launched a military operation against PKK fields in northern Iraq that Erdogan announced on Monday was intended in part to free the 13 hostages.At least 48 Kurdish armed group’s elements were also annihilated during the operation, according to Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.The PKK, denominated a “terrorist” group by the US and Turkey’s other Western allies, has been conducting an armed rebellion against Ankara since 1984. The Erdogan regime is accused by international NGOs and the UN of ethnic cleansing against the Kurdish minority.
The White House on Sunday said it “deplores the death of Turkish citizens” but was waiting for further confirmation that Ankara’s account of the 13 men’s death was genuine. The PKK said the 13 died when Turkish forces bombed the cavern where the men were detained.“If reports of the death of Turkish civilians at the hands of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization, are confirmed, we condemn this action in the strongest possible terms,” the State Department concluded, confirming that Ankara and Washington future relations are taking apart.