ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed on Monday that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) wanted to make Kurds atheists.
"Their main target is the faith of our Muslim, conservative Kurdish brothers. They want to make [Kurds] become atheist and Marxist," said Cavusoglu at a press conference in the Turkish resort city of Antalya.
Cavusoglu mentioned a PKK-claimed car bomb attack on his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters in the city of Van that wounded more than 40 and told reporters that the target was "Kurds' faith."
The Republic of Turkey is a constitutionally secular country and its Kurdish citizens, with a Muslim majority and Yezidi and Alevi minorities, profess diverse sectarian, religious and philosophical affiliations.
PKK, initially a Marxist group fighting for Kurdish autonomy has over the years, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, altered its ideological stance.
Major Kurdish nationalist parties and groups in Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria are secular and at the forefront of the war against the Islamic State organization.
In March 2015, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) because of its emphasis on secularism and gender egalitarianism, labeling its members as "atheists and unbelievers."
"We are clearing the mountains [the PKK] sees as fortresses, we are entering their dens. Yesterday, our soldiers performed the Eid prayers. No worries, we will continue our struggle until we finish them off at home and abroad," added the Turkish FM in reference to his country's troops fighting PKK guerrillas in high mountains of the Kurdish-majority region.
Turkish Army has been on the offensive against the PKK in the mountains bordering Iraqi Kurdistan for the last few weeks, killing dozens of Kurdish guerrillas according to Turkish media outlets.
The Minister also slammed the United States Embassy to Turkey for voicing concern in an official statement regarding the Sunday government seizure of municipalities, most of them Kurdish-held.
"Sorry, but you are not Turkey's boss. Today, Turkey is not a second-class country. If you want to conduct your relations with Turkey in a manly manner, you have to see Turkey as an equal partner. Your ambassador is not a governor to Turkey. Let him [John Bass] do his job in a manly manner, according to the framework defined by the Geneva Convention [on Diplomatic Relations]," said the Minister in a protesting tone to American officials.