Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has described the US State Department’s decision to offer rewards in exchange for information on three key figures of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group as a “late” move that the Ankara government will take “cautiously.”
“They (Americans) say they are making a distinction between the PKK, and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD). But they cannot fool us. We have told them many times that the organic link between them [the PKK and YPG/PYD] is not [purely] instrumental,” Kalin said on Tuesday.
“We will take this cautiously. It is a late decision,” the senior Turkish official noted.
Kalin went on to say that if Washington’s intention is to obscure its ongoing support to the YPG, the truth will soon come out.
Earlier in the day, the US Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program authorized up to $12 million of rewards for information leading to the identification or location of PKK’s acting leader Murat Karayilan, founding member Cemil Bayik, and senior leader Duran Kalkan.
The US Embassy in Ankara announced in a statement that a bounty of up to $5 million had been approved for Karayilan, $4 million for Bayik and $3 million for Kalkan.
Meanwhile, Turkish government forces have “neutralized” a high-ranking PKK militant during a counter-terrorism operation in the country’s southeastern province of Sirnak.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Bedirhan Abo, better known by the nom de guerre Masiro, was neutralized during an operation supported by military aircraft in the mountainous Cudi area of the province.
The statement added that the militant had a bounty of 4 million Turkish lira ($746,000) on his head, and was in the red category of the ministry’s wanted terrorists.