U.S. Calls on Turkey to Coordinate Counter-Terrorism Strikes with Baghdad
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller, briefing reporters on Monday, strongly condemned Sunday’s terrorist attack in Ankara, as well as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Itself.
Turkey responded to the terrorist attack later on Sunday by striking what it considered to be PKK targets in a mountainous area within the Kurdistan Region. Miller did not criticize the Turkish strikes, but he did call on Ankara to coordinate with Baghdad in its counterterrorism operations.
Miller’s gentle approach toward Turkey was, almost certainly, due to the Ukraine war, and the central role that Ankara plays in addressing issues related to it.
Sunday’s Attack and Turkish Response
Two men assaulted Turkey’s Interior Ministry building on Sunday morning. They arrived in a stolen van at around 9:30 AM. One man was a suicide bomber, and his blast injured two policemen. The second attacker was killed by Turkish forces guarding the building.
The Interior Ministry is located less than a mile from the Turkish parliament, which was set to reopen a few hours later after a three month summer break, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would address the lawmakers.
Read More: PKK claims responsibility for Ankara attack
The PKK claimed responsibility for the attack.
Ankara responded to Sunday’s bombing by launching attacks in the Bermka mountain range, hitting a number of villages in the Kurdistan Region multiple times, according to their residents.
U.S. Condemns PKK, as it Calls for Turkey to Coordinate with Iraq
Asked about the terrorist attack and Turkey’s response, Miller repeatedly condemned the PKK, but also urged Turkey to work with Iraq in responding to terrorist assaults.
“The United States strongly condemns the October 1st terrorist attack at the Turkish Interior Ministry in Ankara,” Miller said. “We wish those injured a speedy and full recovery, and we stand firmly with our NATO ally Turkey and the Turkish people in the fight against the PKK, which has been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States.”
Asked a follow-on question about a statement by Erdogan that Turkey would extend its military operations in Syria and in Iraq, Miller said, “We recognize the legitimate security threat the PKK poses to Turkey, and we urge Turkey to pursue joint counterterrorism cooperation with Iraq in a way that supports and respects Iraqi sovereignty.”
Asked yet another question on the issue, by a Turkish journalist, Miller reiterated Washington’s support for Turkey and its opposition to the PKK.
“We condemn any act of terrorism against Turkey and its people,” Miller stated. “As I said, the PKK has been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States,” and “we stand firmly by Turkey and the Turkish people in their fight against the PKK, and we will continue to do so.”
Moscow’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine has become the top U.S. national security issue. That war has dragged on for more than a year and a half, since February 2022, despite initial Russian expectations of a quick victory.
Turkey is playing a key role in mediating that conflict, particularly as regards Ukrainian grain exports. That has given Erdogan enhanced leverage with both Washington and Moscow, and Miller’s statements on Monday, which generally deferred to Turkish sensibilities, seemed to reflect that.