A current U.S. transfer towards Kurdish militant leaders in Turkey might complicate prospects for peace between the Turkish authorities and the nation’s Kurdish minority, activists and analysts mentioned.
The U.S. on Tuesday provided money rewards for info on three senior members of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Staff’ Get together (PKK), which Turkey, the USA and the European Union take into account a terrorist group.
Washington provided rewards of as much as $5 million for info “resulting in the identification or location” of Murat Karayilan, as much as $Four million for Cemil Bayik and as much as $three million for Duran Kalkan.
The three males have been influential figures in a three-decade insurgency towards Turkish armed forces in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast area.
Tuesday’s announcement was made by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara after a go to by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer.
The transfer might assist ease strained ties between Washington and its NATO ally Ankara.
Relations between Turkey and the USA improved final month after Turkey launched American pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been imprisoned for practically two years. Each nations additionally lifted sanctions on authorities officers, imposed in August, over the pastor’s case.
However some political teams in Turkey mentioned the current U.S. transfer towards PKK leaders would damage probabilities for peace in Turkey.
“Providing money rewards on the PKK leaders is a really clear help to the Turkish authorities army method towards the Kurds,” Giran Ozcan, the U.S. consultant of the Folks’s Democratic Get together (HDP), a pro-Kurdish group in Turkey, informed VOA.
Peace course of
In 2015, a two-year peace course of between the Turkish authorities and the PKK collapsed. The 2 sides have been holding talks meant to finish the battle that has killed hundreds of individuals, largely civilians in Turkey.
“The peace course of was a superb alternative to place an finish to civilian deaths,” Ozcan mentioned. “The U.S. was supportive of that course of. So we name on the U.S. authorities to make use of its leverage to push the Turkish authorities to return to the negotiating desk with the PKK.”
However concentrating on these figures “makes life tougher for the PKK basically as a result of it’s making an attempt to legitimize itself [and] pushing laborious to have itself delisted as a terror group,” mentioned Amberin Zaman, a Turkish columnist on the web site Al-Monitor.
Zaman added that the current growth goes to significantly damage the PKK.
“That is clearly a really massive blow to them in that sense that they’ve been making an attempt to current themselves as a reputable political group within the eyes of the world,” she mentioned.
However Zaman mentioned the federal government’s peace efforts wouldn’t be damage by the U.S. transfer as a result of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already taken a harder method towards the pro-Kurdish HDP.
“I feel that the federal government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made a really clear determination to freeze the peace course of, stoke up an alliance with the nationalists, with [Devlet] Bahceli [chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party, known as MHP], and it’s displaying no indicators of shifting that course,” she added.
Whereas some Kurdish activists downplayed the importance of the PKK leaders’ designation, others like Hosheng Ose, a Brussels-based Kurdish affairs analyst, consider the designation marks a major growth on the U.S. half.
“This isn’t a symbolic transfer to appease Turkey,” Ose mentioned. “The U.S. means enterprise when it places cash from its personal price range to search out these PKK leaders. This can be a severe matter.”
Ose added that the U.S. goal in the long term is to disarm the PKK “in what might be seen as a brand new try to assist remedy the Kurdish query in Turkey.”
Turkey’s guarded welcome
Turkish Protection Minister Hulusi Akar mentioned the U.S. transfer was a constructive however “very, very late” step, and known as on Washington to undertake the same coverage towards the Syria-based Folks’s Safety Models (YPG).
“It isn’t doable for us to just accept placing a bounty on PKK leaders on the one hand, and sending vans of instruments, weapons and ammunition to the YPG on the opposite,” Akar informed the state-owned Anadolu information company Wednesday.
Turkey has been angered by U.S. help for Syrian Kurdish forces of their combat towards Islamic State (IS) militants.
The Turkish authorities views the YPG as an extension of the PKK and has carried out a number of assaults on their positions in Syria in current weeks.
WATCH: Why Turkey Is Attacking YPG
“Our place on PKK is obvious, however we don’t classify YPG as a terror group. We by no means did,” James Jeffery, the U.S. particular envoy to Syria, informed reporters throughout a teleconference Wednesday.
“We perceive Turkey’s safety issues. We perceive the priority over ties between PKK and YPG. That’s why we’re appearing very, very fastidiously. We inform Turkey about what we do and why we do it,” Jeffery added.
However Turkish officers insist that such measures will stay incomplete so long as the U.S. doesn’t sever ties with the Syrian YPG.
“Turkey’s predominant expectation from the U.S., which is our NATO ally and strategic associate, is to finish all its engagements with YPG, the Syrian department of the PKK terror group,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin mentioned.
“It’s a futile effort from the U.S. to explain the YPG, which they used to explain because the Syrian department of the PKK, as a reputable group which has no hyperlinks with terrorism and the PKK,” he mentioned Wednesday after an official cupboard assembly in Ankara.
VOA’s Ezel Sahinkaya contributed to this report from Washington.