Citing marches, banners by terror groups, Turkish president presses Western countries: 'How can you explain this?'
Turkey’s president on Friday lashed out against the U.S. and some European countries for failing to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism.
Speaking to reporters after the D-8 summit in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan singled out recent public displays in support of terrorist groups and terrorist group leaders.
Referring to a banner of convicted terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan being displayed by U.S.-supported forces after taking the city of Raqqah, Syria, this week, Erdogan said: “They [PKK/PYD] hung a poster of the terrorist leader somewhere there in Raqqah. How can America explain this? When you speak, you say the PKK is a ‘terrorist organization’.”
Despite recognizing the PKK as a terrorist group -- and against strong Turkish protests -- the U.S. has long armed and equipped the Syrian PKK/PYD, calling it a “reliable ally” in its war against Daesh.
Referring to a weekend incident in which supporters of the PKK terrorist organization hung a poster of Ocalan from the Paris headquarters of a major news agency, Agence France Presse (AFP), Erdogan added: “France also hung a poster of the terrorist leader from a building of its own state TV. Police watched it [happening] from there. How can they explain this?”
The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and U.S. -- has killed more than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians since July 2015.
Erdogan continued: “They [the PKK] march in Germany. During the march, under police supervision, there is every kind of chant, and they march together with those posters.”
On Monday, around 500 pro-PKK demonstrators gathered at Kennedy Square in Frankfurt and shouted anti-Turkey slogans, without any confrontation from the police.
Some of the PKK sympathizers carried banned posters and flags of the terrorist group, although Germany’s Interior Ministry prohibited such posters and flags earlier this year.
'We do not believe you'
Erdogan added: “When we hold bilateral talks, they say, ‘We stand by you in fight against terrorism.’ We do not believe you. You do not stand by us.
“If you stood by us, you would not protect all of these with the police.”
Erdogan added that the states of the D-8 -- an economic group consisting of eight emerging economies from the Muslim world -- are resolved to help Turkey fight terror groups such as Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and the PKK.
He said that especially on FETO and the PKK, D-8 members are determined to show solidarity and offer cooperation, including intelligence-sharing.
The FETO terror group and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the July 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.