CIA chief calls Syrian Kurds partners, rejects PKK

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Kurdish female fighters monitoring a security checkpoint in northeastern Syria. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

QAMISHLI – CIA-director John O. Brennan said that the Syrian Kurds are an effective partner in the fight against ISIS, but that nevertheless the US continues to see Turkey as a partner, and the PKK as a terrorist organization.

The CIA-chief Brennan on Wednesday spoke at a conference organized by the Brookings Institute about the current challenges for the CIA, and called Turkey a partner against ISIS in despite of disagreements. 

“(…) [Turkey] they have some very legitimate concerns about terrorism that has been perpetrated against Turkish citizens by the PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] which is a terrorist organization,” the CIA chief said.

“And I think as you are eluding to the Syrian Kurds in the northern part of Syria straddle that border and have been in fact a partner in some of the coalition efforts to try to uproot and destroy ISIL [ISIS] in that area,” he concluded.

“The Turks are very close partners of ours on a number of fronts. As we know that Turkey has been the ingress and egress point for so many members of ISIL, foreign fighters and others that have joined,” the CIA chief said, about the thousands of foreign fighters that crossed the Turkish borders into Syria since 2011, posing huge security risks to Europe.

The complexities of the Syrian crisis have posed a huge challenge for the US intelligence agency. “I must say in my experience working in Middle Eastern issues Syria is the most complex, complicated issue I’ve ever had to deal with. Because there are so many internal players, so many external players, so many goals and objectives that are frequently in tension with one another,” he said about the Syrian war.

Nevertheless, Brennan said that despite of disagreements with Turkey over the US policy that is heavily reliant on the Syrian Kurds, as one of the most effective fighters against the extremist ISIS group, the CIA will continue to work with Turkey.

“We are very open and honest with the Turks when we have disagreements and we think that they should be doing more. They certainly have expressed their disagreements with us and disapproval of some of the initiatives that we the U.S. government have embarked on but this is what close partners and allies do which is to have that open dialogue,” he stated.

Moreover, the CIA chief said there are a lot of debates and even controversy about the government ruled by the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“But we do have regular interaction with the Turks. Now there are somethings that are going on inside the Turkish political system that are subject to a lot of debate and even controversy, but I’ll just leave it that we do work closely with the Turks,” he concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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