TURKEY

Turkey's US envoy airs concern over PKK leader's op-ed

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Turkey's envoy to the United States conveyed his concerns to The Washington Post on Thursday after it published an opinion piece by a leader of the PKK terrorist organization.

In a letter to the newspaper, Serdar Kılıç said he was "astounded" to see the article written by Cemil Bayık, one of the founders of the terrorist organization, who is responsible for terrorist attacks in Turkey.

"Portraying one of the bloodiest terrorist organizations in modern history as a political movement and its leaders as legitimate interlocutors not only is unacceptable but also sets a dangerous precedent," said Kılıç.

The controversial op-ed published last week triggered outrage among Turkish officials, who lambasted the Post for producing "terrorist propaganda" by publishing the article.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the article did not fall under freedom of the press and expression.

"A head terrorist of the PKK [...] has brazenly engaged in terrorist propaganda by using The Washington Post," he said.

The U.S. is offering a reward of up to $4 million for information on Bayık under the State Department's Rewards for Justice Program.

"I can assure you that reading an opinion piece by a terrorist has made the Turkish people feel whatever a U.S. citizen would have felt when reading an article written by, say, Osama bin Laden on the same pages," he added, referring to the former leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist group.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

"My and the Turkish people's reaction to the article was one of profound outrage, which needs to be conveyed to the Post's distinguished readers in particular, and the American people in general," he added.

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