UPDATE – Turkey reacts cautiously to US putting bounties on PKK

ADDS MORE REMARKS FROM KALIN, EDITS THROUGHOUT

By S.Ahmet Aytac

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey reacted with caution Tuesday to a decision by the U.S. to put multi-million-dollar bounties on the heads of three senior PKK terrorists.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin discussed the matter during a live broadcast on the Haberturk news channel, where he also answered questions on the latest developments in Turkey and the region.

“We will take this cautiously. It is a late decision,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. embassy in Ankara announced that the State Department had placed bounties on three senior PKK terrorists.

Under the Rewards for Justice Program, those who give information leading to the identification or location of Murat Karayilan, Cemil Bayik or Duran Kalkan are eligible for rewards of $3 million to $5 million.

The announcement followed U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer’s official visit to the capital, Ankara.

Kalin said if the U.S. move to impose bounties was motivated to obscure Washington's ongoing support of the PYD/YPG, the truth will eventually come out.

"Our president [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] expressed this at every turn. The Manbij roadmap will be implemented in all aspects as planned…Joint patrols have begun, but that's not enough.

"Our expectation is that the U.S. should completely end its engagement with the PKK's Syrian arm, the PYD/YPG," Kalin said.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, it has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.

-Iran sanctions

Addressing the widely opposed U.S. decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran, Kalin said: “Turkey will not forsake its national interests because the U.S. is imposing sanctions for one reason or another.”

He described the recent sanctions as politically motivated.

"When you look at the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran is abiding by the nuclear agreement. It does not produce weapons.

"It produces nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Where did this issue [U.S. sanctions on Iran] come from suddenly?" Kalin said.

Washington announced new sanctions Monday targeting Iran's energy and financial sectors along with its shipping industry. More than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft and vessels were blacklisted, including 50 Iranian banks and their domestic and foreign subsidiaries.

The U.S. government granted China, Greece, India, Turkey, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan a 180-day waiver for importing Iranian oil, which eased worries of a supply reduction in global markets after the sanctions went into effect.

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