Fahrettin Altun, one of the top aides of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has claimed that Antifa, which has been blamed for taking over the ongoing protests in the U.S. cities, is connected to the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.Erdoğan's aide condemns wounding of TRT World journalists by US police, urges press freedom
Presidential Communications Director Altun told U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, in a phone call on June 3 that Antifa “cooperates with PKK/YPG terrorists in Syria,” according to a statement released by the directorate. Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and therefore designates it as a terrorist group.
“Reiterating that peaceful protests were legitimate and violence was categorically illegitimate in democracies, Communications Director Altun stressed that FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] and ANTIFA, which cooperates with PKK-YPG terrorists in Syria, have been supporting acts of violence in the United States,” the directorate said in its statement.
The Turkish government's attempt to link Antifa with the YPG came after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on May 31 that he would declare the Antifa movement a terrorist organization for its role at protests and riots in the country.Turkey's President Erdoğan condemns Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd
The death of George Floyd, an African-American man, in Minneapolis police custody, has ignited protests across the country. Several top officials from the Trump administration, including U.S. Attorney General William Barr, have blamed Antifa and other “agitators” for taking over the protests in the country.
It is not however clear how many, if any, of the protesters participating in demonstrations across the U.S. are from Antifa, which experts note is not an organization but rather an amorphous movement.
Following Trump’s tweet, some of the Turkish pro-government outlets started saying Antifa and the YPG share “the same ideological ground,” with even the Turkish state-run media outlet TRT running an article entitled “Antifa: Trained by terrorist PKK in Syria, may end up outlawed in the US.”
The U.S.' support for the YPG is a continuing a source of friction with Turkey. Anara has launched three offensives in northern Syria against the YPG and urged the U.S. to halt its relations with the group.