The United States condemns display of a poster depicting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader in the Syrian city of Raqqa after it was liberated from the Islamic State, U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told The Globe Post on Friday.
Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) who fought to free Raqqa from ISIS under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) unfurled a large portrait of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in the city on Thursday.
PKK has been a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long been claiming that the YPG is another offshoot of the PKK, which Ankara sees as an existential threat.
Washington and Ankara have been at odds over the ongoing U.S. and Coalition support for the Kurdish fighters.
“How is the U.S. going to explain this?” Mr. Erdogan asked on Friday, commenting on the situation.
Mr. Rankine-Galloway said the U.S. continues to see PKK as a destabilizing actor it the region.
“We condemn the display of PKK leader and founder Abdullah Ocalan during the liberation of Raqqa,” he added. “The United States continues to support our NATO Ally Turkey in its multi-decade struggle against the PKK and recognizes the loss of life Turkey has suffered in that conflict.”
— Asaad Hanna (@AsaadHannaa) October 19, 2017