By Mehmet Tosun and Enes Kaplan
ANKARA (AA) – Calling the terrorist PYD a legitimate group is "hypocrisy," said the acting chair of Turkey’s ruling party on Thursday.
"It is not understandable for the U.S. to recognize the PYD — the PKK’s Syrian branch — as a legitimate organization while the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S.,” Numan Kurtulmus of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party told a group of publishers meeting in the capital Ankara.
Discussing the U.S. move this week putting multi-million dollar bounties on three key PKK terrorists, even as it continues to partner with the terrorist PYD, Kurtulmus said the U.S. knows that there is no difference between the PKK and PYD/YPG.
Turkey has repeatedly objected to U.S. support for the terrorist PKK/PYD as a "reliable ally" in Syria, which has included supplying arms and equipment.
In recent days Turkish officials have stepped up their calls for the U.S. to cut its ties to the terrorist group PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.
-Khashoggi and pilgrims
Turning to the killing last month in Istanbul of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Kurtulmus stressed the importance of travelers' safety for the pilgrimage to the Saudi city of Mecca, one of the pillars of Islam.
After entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was strangled and then dismembered, according to the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office.
If someone disappears in the Saudi Consulate, this may give Muslims reason to doubt the safety of pilgrims and isolate Saudi Arabia in the eyes of Muslims, he warned.
So far in 2018, almost 2 million domestic and foreign pilgrims have taken the Hajj pilgrimage.