US Capitol attack leaders 'linked to Syrian Kurdish militia YPG', says Erdogan

US Capitol attack leaders 'linked to Syrian Kurdish militia YPG', says Erdogan
The Turkish president claimed that the leaders of the US Capitol attack had YPG links.
2 min read
21 February, 2021
Erdogan made the remarks on 20 February [Getty]
Turkish President Erdogan has claimed that the leaders of US Capitol Hill attack had links to YPG, a Kurdish group Ankara considers a terrorist organisation.

"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," Erdogan said in a speech, according to local reports.

The YPG is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey for its links to the PKK.

"As Turkey, we believe our common interests with the United States far outweigh our differences in opinion," Erdogan 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-US ties had been "seriously tested" in the last few months.

The US has not commented on Erdogan’s claims about the Capitol Hill leaders.

Tensions rising

Last week US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu that "PKK terrorists" bore responsibility for the deaths of Turkish hostages in northern Iraq.

Turkey had accused the United States of supporting "terrorists" after Washington declined to immediately back Ankara's claim that Kurdish militants had executed 13 Turkish nationals in Iraq.

"The Secretary expressed condolences for the deaths of Turkish hostages in northern Iraq and affirmed our view that PKK terrorists bear responsibility," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

The Turkish anger was directed at a US State Department statement on Sunday saying Washington "deplores the death of Turkish citizens" but awaits further confirmation of Ankara's version of events.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan branded Washington's response "a farce" and the Turkish foreign ministry summoned US Ambassador David Satterfield to express Ankara's displeasure "in the strongest possible terms".

Price said Blinken spoke by phone with Cavusoglu on Monday and "emphasised the longstanding importance of the US-Turkish bilateral relationship" and "our shared interest in countering terrorism".

He said Blinken also urged Turkey "not to retain the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system".

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