Cemil Bayik, the man leading the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has accused Turkey of trying to protect the Islamic State by attacking Kurdish fighters.
In an interview with the BBC, Bayik says he believes that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of wants ISIS to succeed to prevent Kurdish advances.
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The BBC report:
Kurdish fighters – among them the PKK – have secured significant victories against IS militants in Syria and Iraq.
But Turkey, like a number of Western countries, considers the PKK a terrorist organisation.
A ceasefire in the long-running conflict with the group appeared to disintegrate in July, when Turkey began bombing PKK camps in northern Iraq, at the same time as launching air strikes on IS militants.
Observers say PKK fighters have been on the receiving end of far more attacks than IS.
But Turkish officials deny that the campaign against IS group is a cover to prevent Kurdish gains. On Wednesday, Turkey said it was planning a “comprehensive battle” against IS.
‘Stop Kurdish advance’
“The Turkish claim they are fighting Islamic State… but in fact they are fighting the PKK,” Cemil Bayik told BBC’s Jiyar Gol.
“They are doing it to limit the PKK’s fight against IS. Turkey is protecting IS.
“[President] Erdogan is behind IS massacres. His aim is to stop the Kurdish advance against them, thus advancing his aim of Turkishness in Turkey.”
More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK began its armed struggle against the Turkish government in 1984.
In the 1990s, the organisation dropped its demand for a Kurdish state and instead called for more autonomy for the Kurds.
In March 2013, its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan called a ceasefire.
But violence has resumed in recent weeks after a suicide bombing blamed on IS killed 32 people in the predominantly Kurdish town of Suruc.