Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin criticised NY Times for their "blatant attempt" to "justify and whitewash PKK terrorism."

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin. (AA)

Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin on Saturday blasted NY Times for portraying a PKK "red category" terrorist who was killed by Turkish Armed Forces in a cross-border anti-terror op in Iraq's Sinjar as a "hero."

Kalin asked whether using "same logic" the publication would also label "Bin Laden" or "Ratko Mladic" heroes. Bin Laden was the mastermind behind the 9/11 twin tower bombings while Mladic was convicted of war crimes and genocide at UN tribunal in 2017 for his role in the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Senior PKK terrorist Ismail Ozden was reportedly the highest-ranking member of the terror group in Iraq's Sinjar region and the first terrorist featured on the "red list" of Turkish Interior Ministry to be killed in a cross-border operation.

The New York Times reported that Ozden — codenamed Mam “Uncle” Zaki Shingali — "was was considered a hero to many members of the embattled Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, whose women and girls were forced into sexual enslavement by the Islamic State (the name by which Daesh is referred to in the US) and whose men were killed by the thousands."

Ozden was also a member of the group’s so-called “executive council” and reported to have been in charge of the PKK's illegal drug and arms trafficking in the region.

The Hurriyet Daily News newspaper reported that the 66-year old Ozden was actively operating in Europe from 1992 to 1996. Arrested in Germany for “being a PKK member” and “attacking workplaces of Turkish people” in 1996, Ozden was released in 1998. In 2018, he began spearheading PKK activities in Sinjar.

Kalin's anger over the labelling of Ozden a hero also received the backing of many, who tweeted their support of Kalin's dusting down of the US newspaper on Twitter.

The operation, in which Ozden was killed, was named in honour of an 11-month-old baby, Bedirhan Mustafa Karakaya, who was killed alongside his mother after a remote-controlled bomb was detonated by PKK terrorists on July 31 in Turkey's Hakkari province.

Eleven-month old Bedirhan Mustafa together with his mother and father in an undated family photo.
Eleven-month old Bedirhan Mustafa together with his mother and father in an undated family photo. (AA)

Continued US support for PKK-linked groups

The United States on Friday said it had secured $300 million from coalition partners to help stabilize parts of Syria retaken from Daesh.

Brett McGurk, the US special presidential envoy overseeing the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq said Saudi Arabia had contributed $100 million and the United Arab Emirates had pledged $50 million. 

Australia, Denmark, European Union, Taiwan, Kuwait, Germany and France also participated, added.

Saudi pledge of $100 million was made at Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Brussels on July 12, which was hosted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

A statement issued by the US Department of State said the money will revitalise communities such as Raqqa.

Various Turkish media outlets, including Hurriyet daily and Sabah, reported on the US funding news pointing out that the territory is largely under the control of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group.

The most of northeast Syria including Raqqa is currently held by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)  a group dominated by the PKK's Syrian branch the YPG.

The Syrian branch of the group formed the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with the support of the US and enjoys considerable American aid in northern Syria.

Turkish Armed Forces launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 to remove the PKK's Syrian wing, the YPG, from Syria's Afrin. Clearing the region on March 19 and neutralising thousands of terrorists.

Turkey has recently stepped up its anti-terror operations in both Qandil and Sinjar regions in northern Iraq to rid the area of PKK terror group.

In its 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies