Turkey tried todayÂ again to connect protests against police violence in the United StatesÂ to Kurdish groups in the Middle East.
In a call with US President Donald Trump, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that people committing acts of violence and looting in the United StatesÂ are cooperating with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey and the Peopleâ€™s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. Erdogan and TrumpÂ also discussed Libya, according to Turkeyâ€™s state-run Anadolu Agency.
The PKK fights for greater Kurdish political rights in Turkey and is considered a terrorist organization by both Ankara and Washington. The YPG in Syria shares a communalist ideology with the PKKÂ but denies further links. The United StatesÂ backs the YPG in its fight against the Islamic State. Turkey strongly and vocally opposes this support, believing the YPG to be the Syrian version of the PKK.
Erdoganâ€™s comments are related to the antifa movement in the United States. The loosely organized movement â€” whose name means anti-fascist â€” has allegedly been involved in many anti-Trump demonstrations â€”Â some of them violent â€”Â as well as the ongoing George Floyd protests in the United States.
Some antifa supporters fought in the YPG in Syria, which is the basis of the Turkish governmentâ€™s claims of a connection. Following reports ofÂ alleged YPG-antifa ties in Turkish media, some foreign YPG fighters told Al-MonitorÂ there were some antifa supporters in the groupÂ but there was no formal relationship between the two.
Turkey took some territories from the YPG last year following an extensiveÂ military offensive, seeing the YPG presence near the Turkish border as a threat. The YPG says Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies are pursuing forced demographic change against Kurds in the area.
Erdoganâ€™s remarks follow Trumpâ€™s threat to label antifaÂ a terrorist organization due to its alleged role in looting and property destruction that occurred during the protests in the United States.
The two presidents also agreed in their conversation to work together for peace and stability in Libya, according to the Anadolu Agency. Turkey is a major backer of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya. The GNA has lately had significant military success holding on to the capital, Tripoli, against eastern-based Gen. Khalifa Hifterâ€™s Libyan National Army. The United StatesÂ opposes Russian support for Hifter.