Marxist groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) operated on Syrian soil, a U.S. terrorism report said, adding that the issue presents a security concern for Turkey.
“Marxist groups, including affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also operated on Syrian soil, presenting a security concern for Turkey,” read the State Department’s 2018 Country Report on Terrorism.
Washington and Ankara have been at odds due to the former’s support for the PKK’s Syrian affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG).
YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was Washington’s main ally in the fight against ISIS, but their relations deteriorated when U.S. President Donald Trump announced the pullout of U.S. troops.
Turkey has repeatedly urged the U.S. to abandon the YPG, which Ankara accepts as a terror group due to its links with the PKK – a group designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara, Washington and the European Union.
The report released on Nov. 1 details the struggle against these organizations in plenty of countries, including Turkey.
“Turkey continued its efforts to defeat terrorist organizations both inside and outside its borders, including the PKK and ISIS,” the report read, adding that the country “remained an active contributor in international counterterrorism fora, including the Global Counterterrorism Forum.”
“As a counterterrorism partner of the United States, Turkey continued to receive U.S. assistance to address the terrorist threat posed by the PKK in 2018,” it also said.
The report noted that the PKK receives financial support from the large Kurdish diaspora in Europe.
The report included criticisms against Turkey regarding its definition of terrorism, saying “Turkey has a broad definition of terrorism that includes crimes against constitutional order and internal and external security of the state, which the government regularly used to criminalize the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression and assembly.”
The report also mentioned Turkey’s fight against ISIS.
“Turkey will sometimes deport suspected foreign terrorist fighters without providing advance notice to the destination countries,” it said.