The Turkish government Friday accused the BBC of supporting terrorism after the British news network aired a report profiling Kurdish women from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq. The PKK, which is currently being targeted in airstrikes by the Turkish military, is considered a terrorist organization in the country and several Western nations, including the United States.
“The BBC published written and visual propaganda of the terrorist organization PKK. To feature an organization that is recognized as terrorist in most of the European Union countries in such a way is an open support for terrorism,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that the report attempted to portray the PKK as innocent and even “glorified its crimes.”
“This publication violates the U.N. and Council of Europe resolutions in this field. Promoting and glorifying terrorism is a crime,” the ministry said in the statement.
The BBC report, which aired Wednesday during its “Newsnight” program, included interviews with, and profiles of, several Kurdish and Yazidi women at a PKK training camp in northern Iraq. According to the report, nearly 40 percent of PKK fighters are females, many of whom joined the group after escaping ISIS captivity.
The PKK, which was formed in the late 1970s, launched an armed struggle against the Turkish government in 1984, demanding greater autonomy for Kurds living in the country. Since then, clashes between the two sides have killed over 40,000 people.
“In the past one month, the PKK has killed 64 people, wounded over 350, and kidnapped 16 people,” the ministry said in the statement in response to the BBC report. “Publication is also a grave breach of the victims’ rights.”
A two-year détente between the PKK and the Turkish government -- announced in March 2013 -- ended last month after 32 people were killed in an ISIS suicide attack in the Kurdish-dominated Turkish border town of Suruc. Two days later, rebels from the PKK killed two Turkish policemen, whom they accused of collaborating with the Islamic militant group.
Turkish airstrikes on PKK strongholds in northern Iraq and southern Turkey, which began on July 24, are still ongoing. According to a report by the state-run Anadolu Agency Friday, at least 770 PKK members have been killed in the airstrikes and over 450 injured.