Those who led the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol are linked to the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, adding that the incident proves "how terror is an enemy of democracy."
"The links of those who led the attack to the separatist organization's Syrian branch YPG/PYD were revealed. It was understood that terror is an enemy of democracy, as well as humanity, with this attack," Erdoğan said on Feb. 20, using the abbreviation of Democratic Union Party in Syria.
Erdoğan was referring to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara, Washington and the European Union, when he used the term "separatist organization."
Turkey deems the YPG and the PYD terrorist groups due to their links with the PKK. The U.S. support for the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against ISIS has been the source of tensions between Ankara and Washington.
The issue once again erupted this month following the death of 13 Turks, including soldiers, police and intelligence officers, held by the PKK in northern Iraq, with Erdoğan slamming the U.S. for "supporting terror."
During his speech on Feb. 20, Erdoğan also said that the common interests of Turkey and the U.S. must outweigh their differences and Ankara wants improved cooperation with Washington.
"As Turkey, we believe our common interests with the United States far outweigh our differences in opinion," Erdoğan said, adding Ankara wanted to strengthen cooperation through "a long-term perspective on a win-win basis."
"Turkey will continue to do its part in a manner worthy of the allied and strategic partnership ties between the two countries," he said, adding Turkish-U.S. ties had been "seriously tested" recently.
In a phone call this month marking the first official contact since Biden took office, Erdoğan's spokesperson İbrahim Kalın told U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan the dispute over Turkey's acquisition of S-400 missile defense systems needed resolving.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the S-400 dispute and other disagreements during their first call.
Turkey has hired Washington-based law firm Arnold & Porter to lobby for its readmission into the F-35 jet programme, where it was a buyer and manufacturer, after it was removed by the United States over the S-400s. Washington's claim that the defence systems poses a threat to the F-35s is rejected by Ankara.