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Kurdish leaders call on US to revoke bounty placed on heads of PKK trio

KURDISH political leaders called on the United States today to to revoke its “immoral decree,” after a bounty was placed on the heads of three leading figures of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Washington renewed a 2018 promise of millions of dollars for information leading to the capture of PKK military commander Murat Karayilan and leading PKK cadres Cemil Bayik and Duran Kalkan.

The State Department’s Rewards for Justice programme offered the cash bounty, listing the PKK as a foreign terrorist entity, a designation which is rejected by the organisation and has been challenged in court.

But the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organisation of Kurdish organisations including the PKK, said that the decision was “against human values and morality,” insisting that the PKK had never been involved in actions that harmed the US or its citizens.

“Our three leading executives and the philosophy and struggle they represent have rescued the Kurdish people, the people of the USA and all of humanity from the evil that the Islamic State (IS) stands for,” a KCK statement said.

It warned that the decision would help deepen the conflict in Kurdistan and aid “the political genocide policy that the enemies of the Kurdish people, especially [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan are advancing against the Kurds.”

The renewal of the bounty offer shows that “the US has no policy and vision for the solution of the Kurdish question. It also means being accomplice to the physical, political and cultural genocide the fascist [Turkish] government carries out against the Kurds,” the statement added.

The KCK accused the US of sacrificing the Kurdish people to win Turkey’s backing for its broader plans for domination of the Middle East.

Instead of targeting the PKK, Washington should ensure the resumption of negotiations between the Turkish state and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, which were halted in 2015, it said.

KCK condemned the US for its role in the abduction and imprisonment of Mr Ocalan in 1999, saying that its representatives “need to apologise immediately to the Kurdish people” and secure his freedom and “a democratic solution to the Kurdish question.”

Washington has a seemingly contradictory stance, allying with the largely Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) in the north Syrian enclave known as Rojava, while encouraging action against the PKK in northern Iraq.

KCK called for “democratic and political actions” to put pressure on the US to refrain from abetting further massacres of the Kurds and any other people of the Middle East.

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