Turkish officials are riled out by a ceremony in the former ISIS capital of Raqqa, newly captured by the Kurdish YPG, in which Kurdish celebrants raised a banner of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Ocalan is jailed in Turkey as a terrorist.
Turkish PM Binali Yildirim says the banner proves that the YPG are a “terrorist organization” and that the US is backing terrorists in Syria. He warned the banner did very serious damage to US-Turkey relations.
Turkey has long complained about US backing Kurdish factions abroad, but particularly the YPG, as Turkey considers the group and its political wing to be effectively part of Turkey’s own banned PKK party.
The factions are close, but both PKK and YPG officials insist they are distinct organizations. Both deny being terrorists, though in Turkey, being Kurdish nationalists is tantamount to terrorism at any rate.
The banner of a Turkish Kurd flying over a captured Syrian Arab city is potentially a risky situation at any rate, adding to the perception that the Kurds are occupying Arab lands as part of an ambition for a Greater Kurdistan.
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