WASHINGTON, US (North Press) – Michael Rubin, an American researcher with the American Enterprise Institute and former Pentagon official, testified before the American Religious Freedom Committee in June, suggesting that the US remove the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a political and militant organization in conflict with the Turkish state since the 1980s, from US terror lists.
On Monday, in a private interview with North Press, Rubin explained the dimensions of this proposal, the possibility to achieve it, and the impact of US-Turkish relations on the Syrian file.
“The United States urgently needs to reassess its listing of the PKK,” Rubin said.
Rubin pointed out that “What Hamas has done in Gaza confirms they are a terrorist group. What the Islamic State did in Syria and Iraq shows they too were terrorists. What the Autonomous Administration did in Syria proves that the propaganda long put forward by Turkey and long accepted at face value by the U.S. government, and, frankly, myself in the past as well, is flat out wrong.”
He explained that what happened in Syria is the biggest piece evidence that those Kurds fighting against extremism are American partners with whom the US shares the same goals, and are not enemies or terrorists.
Rubin claimed that Turkey has provided a great deal of false information about the PKK to the US over the years, stating that “almost any intelligence supplied by the Turks is hopelessly polluted. Frankly, the United States should also re-assess Turkey. NATO member or not, it increasingly seems Turkey fulfills any definition of terror sponsor more than the PKK does.”
He explained that the areas that US Envoy to Syria James Jeffrey described as safe areas became a haven for terrorists as soon as Turkish forces entered them. “Jeffrey not only green-lighted ethnic cleansing, he effectively allowed Erdogan to change Turkey’s borders.” Rubin added that Jeffrey was humiliatingly manipulated by Turkey, and that his actions “benefited Russia, Assad, and the Islamic State.”
“Any new U.S. president may reverse course, but the Kurds would have reason never to trust U.S. promises again,” Rubin added.
Reporting by Hadeel Owais, editing by Lucas Chapman)