WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 (UPI) — The Kurdistan Workers’ Party is a “common enemy” in the region and Washington is working with Turkey in the fight, a U.S. State Department official said.
Eight Turkish soldiers and one village guard were killed in attacks by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known by its initials PKK, in southern Turkey this week. Iran placed troops along the border with Iraq to fight the Free Life Party of Kurdistan, or PJAK, which is considered an affiliate of the PKK.
Turkish leaders said they would escalate attacks on the PKK even though the fight comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said Washington supports Ankara’s right to defend itself against the PKK.
“We also support continued close cooperation between Iraq and Turkey in working to combat the PKK, which is a common enemy of Iraq, of Turkey (and) of the United States,” she said.
U.S. military officials in Iraq had acknowledged sharing intelligence about PKK activity in northern Iraq.
Nuland said “more than three dozen” Turkish security personnel were killed by the PKK in the last month.