Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly told US president Donald Trump that Antifa protesters are linked to the PKK terrorist group.
During a phone call to the White House on Monday, Erdogan told his American counterpart that supporters of Kurdish militant groups are behind the “violence and looting” being seen during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in the US, according to reports.
A spokesperson for Erdogan’s office said that he “conveyed his concern to President Trump over the cooperation between elements behind the incidents of violence and looting in the US, and the PKK/PYD-YPG terrorist organisation that operates in the north of Syria”.
BLM protests broke out across the US and further afield after African-American man George Floyd was killed by a white police officer on 25th May.
According to local media, the Turkish government is trying to link the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and associated splinter groups to the unrest in the US.
The PKK has been involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state, with the initial aim of achieving an independent Kurdish state, since 1984.
Turkey considers the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People’s Protection Units (YPG) as Syrian off-shoots of the PKK.
Although the PKK is widely considered to be a terrorist organisation, the YPG played a key role in the American-backed fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
Last week, President Donald Trump announced that the left-wing activist group Antifa (anti-fascism) will be designated as a terrorist organisation.
Meanwhile, Turkey has also linked Antifa, who Trump accused of “domestic terrorism”, to the Kurdish militant groups.
According to reports, some of the foreign fighters who joined the YPG and its wing the YPJ have been generally affiliated with Antifa.
Turkey’s Directorate of Communications published a graphic called ‘Who/What is Antifa?’ and included a series of alleged links to the PKK and YPG.
One section of the graphic reads: “Although its full name is Anti-Fascist movement, some Antifa members trained by the PKK/YPG terrorist organisation do not hesitate to carry out acts with an entirely fascist mentality.”
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