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Erdogan Accuses US of Backing Terrorists Over Deaths of 13 Turks

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the United States of backing Iraqi terrorists. Erdogan made the accusation on Monday, in response to the killing of 13 kidnapped Turkish civilians allegedly by members of the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK. The bodies were discovered over the weekend in a cave in northern Iraq. Turkey this month launched a military operation against PKK bases in northern Iraq.

The United States issued a statement that it condemned the killings and stood with Turkey if it was confirmed that the PKK was responsible.

“The statement made by the United States is a farce,” Erdogan said. “You said you did not support terrorists, when in fact you are on their side and behind them.”

“After this, there are two options. Either act with Turkey with no ifs or buts, without questioning, or they will be a partner to every murder and bloodshed,” Erdogan also said.

The United States has designated the PKK a terrorist organization, but it supports Kurdish YPG fighters who Ankara considers to be tied to the PKK.

The PKK said in a statement that the kidnapped Turks included Turkish intelligence, police and military personnel, and that they had been killed during Turkish attacks against it in the area, not by PKK members, Reuters reported.