ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A Saudi Arabian minister on Wednesday called the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) a terror group while a Russian official announced his country did not share the same view.
During an official visit to Turkey, Saudi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir spoke to reporters at a televised joint press conference in Ankara with the Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“We should always recognize that PKK is a terror group,” Jubeir stated.
Jubeir’s remark was a reply to a question by a Turkish journalist who referred to the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as the PKK in northern Syria, a view strongly held by Turkey’s government.
Despite the declaration for the first time by a top Saudi official, the PKK remained outside a list of designated terrorist groups by Saudi’s Interior Ministry.
The list includes mostly Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS), and the Muslim Brotherhood which the Kingdom views as existential threats.
Two months ago, some 100 people from the Kurdish community living in Saudi Arabia celebrated the PKK’s 38th anniversary in the city of Medina.
Notably, the celebrations did not result in any interference from the authorities of the conservative country.
Meanwhile, the director of the Fourth European Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko stated his country continued not to regard the PKK and the YPG as terror groups.
“In Russia, it is a reality, a fact that these organizations are not officially classified as a terrorist,” Botsan told Russian news agency Interfax.
The PKK is designated a terror group by the European Union and most of Turkey’s NATO allies including the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
The YPG, on the other hand, has openly received praise and military aid from those countries, particularly the US which supports its fight against IS.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany