Since 1984, the Kurdish PKK guerrillas have waged an armed struggle in Turkey for greater autonomy and increased rights for Kurds, a conflict that has led to tens of thousands of deaths. The guerrilla leader Abdullah Öcalan has been imprisoned on the island of Imrali outside Istanbul in Turkey since he was arrested by the Turkish security service and taken to Turkey in 1999. Sweden, Turkey, the United States and the EU classify the PKK guerrillas as terrorists. On the other hand, Sweden and Turkey have different views on the armed Kurdish militia YPG, which has been one of the most effective armed groups in the fight against the terrorist movement IS in Syria. According to Sweden and the NATO defense alliance, the YPG has been an important partner in the fight against IS terrorists, but Turkey believes that the YPG should also be classified as a terrorist group.
Western military support for Kurdish militias
In Syria, the international coalition against the terrorist group IS has provided air support to the armed group SDF, an alliance of, among others, Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian / Syrian groups. The strongest fighting group in the alliance is the Kurdish YPG. The US military has worked closely with the YPG in Syria and has not classified them as terrorists. This has already previously upset Turkish President Erdogan, who equates the PKK with the YPG and believes that they should all be seen as terrorists. After Finland and Sweden applied for membership in NATO, the division within the alliance has become increasingly clear. Hear why Turkish President Erdogan believes that Sweden should classify more Kurdish groups as terrorists and about the history of the Kurdish struggle.
Host: Olle Wiberg
Producer: Katja Magnusson
Technician: Maria Stillberg
Source: ICELAND NEWS