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US bounty on PKK leaders condemned as an attack on ‘all Kurdish people fighting for freedom’

IRAQ’S Kurdish parties today united to condemn a $5 million bounty placed on the leaders of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) by the US government, branding it part of an “international plot.”

Washington announced via its embassy in Ankara on Wednesday that it will offer a cash reward to those who provide information on the location of three senior PKK members – Cemil Bayık, Duran Kalkan and Murat Karayilan.

It followed a visit to Turkey by the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer who said: “The US values its counterterrorism co-operation with our Nato ally Turkey. 

“As part of my visit, I am pleased to announce that the State Department Rewards for Justice programme is targeting three senior members of the terrorist organisation PKK.”

The State Department promised “100 per cent confidentiality” and said that those who provide information may be offered relocation under a protection programme.

Both the US and Turkey deem the PKK a terrorist organisation.

Relations between the two countries have come under strain due to Washington’s continued support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria, which Ankara insists is an offshoot of the PKK.

However the decision was slammed by a number of Kurdish parties and organisations who demanded the US withdraw its offer.

The Kurdistan Communities Union warned in a statement that the bounty was part of an international plot, branding it “a hostile approach that constitutes an attack against not just the PKK... but all Kurdish people fighting for freedom and democracy.”

A protest against the US decision was held today by the Kurdistan Communist Party in Kalar city, Sulaymaniyah.

Hundreds gathered in Leyla Qasım Park as party spokesman Ehmed Mecid said: “We are protesting the decision of the US towards the founders of the Kurdistan freedom struggle.”

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan foreign relations spokesman Sanaz Ibrahim Ehmed said in a statement: “We will prove that Kurds will not sell their revolutionaries. Together we will destroy the plans developed against our leaders” and branded the US announcement “a shameful decision to please Turkey”.

The Free Society Movement of Kurdistan said the decision was directed against the Kurdish freedom revolution and the legitimate rights and demands of Kurds.

“We call upon all political parties, personalities and human rights organisations to react to this vicious decision. Let us turn this into an occasion for the establishment of national unity,” they stated.
 

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