During the latest meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), members discussed the possibility of removing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from the US terrorist list. The US has already expressed an intention to do it, but political analysts believe disarmament of the group will be a precondition to its removal, at Turkey’s insistence.
In the 60th meeting of NATO in Den Hag in the Netherlands, members discussed a variety of issues, including the role of Kurds in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria.
Austrian MP Peter Pilz suggested that it is necessary for the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iran and Syria to have autonomy.
He asked NATO to consider removing the PKK from the list of proscribed terrorist organisations, as a result of its role fighting the extremist group in northern Iraq and Syria.
US media reports have talked about the US’s intention to remove the PKK from the list. However, Turkey has expressed concerns about this development and claims the US wants to intervene in the peace process between the Turkish government and the PKK and Turkey’s internal affairs.
Turkish political analysts believe that Turkey does not want the US to remove PKK from the list without disarming them first.
Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey, Mehmet Ali Shahin pointed out that the US continuously interferes in the domestic issues of Turkey and wants to take a role in the peace process between the PKK and the Turkish government.
Currently Ankara and PKK are observing a fragile ceasefire, and they have begun negotiations to end the conflict permanently. Thousands of people from both sides have been killed in 30 years of fighting .
Since the AKP party came to power in Turkey a decade ago, the Kurdish situation in the country has improved to some extent, although AKP officials still harshly talk about the PKK and recently Turkish President Reccep Tayip Erdogan claimed, “IS and the PKK are the same”.
“Certainly, Turkey is pressuring the US to force the PKK to lay down their arms, as a pre-condition to remove the group from the terrorist list, but how the US will do it is another question,” analyst Ziryan Rojhalati said to BasNews.
He continued, “If Washington agrees to the Turkish request, it’s seems unacceptable. It is obvious for all the world that the PKK is a national political party, created due to the harsh policies of Turkey and to gain Kurdish rights; it’s not a terrorist party.”
Rojhalati noted that it is true that the disarmament of the PKK has been mentioned in the peace process, but Turkey and Washington must not interconnect these two cases together as the only way of removing PKK from the list.
Former chairman of the PKK politcal wing, Fayeq Gulpi spoke to BasNews and said the PKK has never done any harm to the US in the region.
“The PKK has never harmed the US or killed any US soldiers. The reason that the US has the PKK on a terrorist list is due to a Turkish request to the US administration.”
He also mentioned that the US viewed Turkey as an ally in the past, however changes in recent years have affected this alliance.
He believes this change happened in 2003, when Turkey didn’t allow the US to attack Iraq from the Turkish border and later on secret negotiations between Iran and Turkey were revealed. This year the US and Turkey have had a difference of opinion on how to tackle Islamic State causing further tensions between Ankara and Washington.
“This has effected US views on the PKK, when they see the group in Syria; the Democratic Union party (PYD) and and its armed wing the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) are all fighting on front lines against IS with the cooperation of US allies. Therefore, it’s a real possibility that the US might not take Turkey’s request into consideration when removing the PKK from the list. Perhaps the US will unilaterally decide to drop the PKK from the terrorist list’, concluded Gulpi.