Turkey welcomes US offer of rewards for information on PKK members

The US reward announcement comes amid an improvement in ties between the two Nato allies

TOPSHOT - Syrian-Kurds carry portraits depicting jailed founding member and leader of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan, as they march during a protest in support of Afrin on January 18, 2018, in the northern Syrian town of Jawadiyah.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier in the week vowed to soon launch an operation against towns in Syria held by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers "terrorists". / AFP PHOTO / Delil souleiman
Powered by automated translation

Turkey takes a positive view of a US move to offer rewards for information on three members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the foreign ministry said on Wednesday, adding it expected to see concrete steps in the fight against the militia.

The US offered the rewards on Tuesday for information on the three senior members of the PKK, which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state for decades.

"We expect this step to be supported with concrete actions that will be carried out in Syria and Iraq regarding the fight against the PKK and its extensions," the ministry said.

Turkey has been infuriated by US support for the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers to be an extension of the PKK. The YPG spearheads the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against ISIS in Syria.

The PKK, designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the European Union, has fought the Turkish state since 1984.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey would approach Washington's move with caution and it expected the US to sever all ties with the YPG militia.

The US reward announcement comes amid an improvement in ties which began after a Turkish court last month released US pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest.

Last week, the two countries mutually lifted sanctions on government officials imposed in August over the Brunson case. Washington announced this week that Turkey would receive a temporary waiver from reimposed sanctions on Iran.

On Tuesday, President RecepTayyip Erdogan said talks with the US regarding state-owned lender Halkbank, which might be facing a possible US fine over allegations of evasion of sanctions on Iran, were on a positive track.

US and Turkish troops last week began joint patrols in Syria's Manbij, which the two sides have agreed to clear of militants. Turkey had previously said the US was delaying implementation of the plan.

US President Donald Trump and Mr Erdogan are to meet this weekend at a summit in Paris.