PKK hopes to leave terror lists with fight against Islamic State

A senior official from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said that he hopes his group’s participation in the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition would result in it being removed from countries’ terrorist lists.
Cemil Bayik, co-founder of the PKK, told The Guardian in a report published on Wednesday that the terrorist label was a “great injustice” and that its fight against Islamic State demonstrates that it was mistaken.
The PKK, which the US and other Western countries designate as a terrorist organization, is fighting on their side against Islamic State.
“The international coalition’s dealings with the PKK have been conducted through intermediaries and have remained secret,” Bayik said.
Bayik also argued that Iraq should stay united to defeat Islamic State, as a divided country would cause the war to “intensify” and increase the threat to “smaller communities.”
Since March 2013, the PKK has been in a peace process with Ankara, which designates the group as a terrorist organization. Relations remain hostile three decades after the militants launched an insurgency in southeast Turkey.
On Monday, seven Turkish soldiers including a battalion commander were wounded when their armored vehicle drove over a land mine in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey, the military said.
It did not say who planted the mine, or when, but the PKK has carried out such attacks on military vehicles in the past.
The PKK leader told the British newspaper that Turkey is supporting Islamic State as it “wants to destroy the Kurdish cantons or keep them in perpetual fighting to weaken the Kurds... because if you have viable Kurdish administrations in Iraq and Syria, then the Kurds in Turkey will want their own administration too.”
Bayik added that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to lead the Middle East in a revived Ottoman Empire and that he is to blame for the stalling of peace talks with PKK.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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