The U.S. President Donald Trump administration renewed on Friday the designation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as a terrorist organisation, Trend reported citing The National.
The US State Department issued a statement announcing that it “has reviewed and maintained the Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) designation of the PKK”. The militant group was first designated in October 1997 and the US has offered financial rewards for information on three of its leaders.
“The United States maintains a strong commitment to our partnership with our NATO ally Turkey, including fighting PKK fundraising operations in Europe and elsewhere”, the statement read. While the move reiterates a longstanding US position on the PKK, its timing comes as a US inter-agency delegation is visiting Ankara and negotiating a range of issues between the two NATO allies including Syria, the sale of Patriot missiles, trade and counter terrorism.
The meetings were the second this month between Washington and Ankara. The talks began on Wednesday and were due to conclude Friday, but it is unclear if they reached a breakthrough.
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed that the discussions entailed the sale of a US Patriot missile defence system to Ankara. “The United States said they could sell Patriots, and the delegations are negotiating," Mr Cavusoglu said on Friday, Turkish news agency Anadolu reported. However, issues relating to the time frame of delivering the $3.5 billion and Turkey’s purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia are complicating the talks, and remain unresolved.
US officials have insisted that if Ankara goes ahead with its purchase from Russia, then the Patriots deal will be withdrawn. "The S-400 will be delivered towards the end of this year in autumn. We bought S-400s because we could not purchase Patriots," Mr Cavusoglu was quoted as saying.