JERUSALEM (Hurriy)–The current leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) urged Israel on Tuesday to sever its military ties with Turkey, which he described as a common enemy, Agence France-Presse reported.
“Once we were friends,” Murat Karayılan told an Israeli reporter, adding though that since Israel and Turkey began forging closer military ties in the 1980s, “you have been considered here to be among those who systematically assist in our oppression and eradication.”
Relations between Israel and Turkey hit a historic low after eight Turks and U.S. citizen of Turkish descent were killed May 31 in an Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla to Gaza.
Despite the spat, the two countries still have military and economic ties and Israel has in the past supplied Turkey with military equipment, including unmanned drones that Ankara uses against the PKK.
“Our problem lies in the military ties between Israel and Turkey. Those ties harm us,” Karayılan said. “The most advanced [military] technology that Turkey uses against our [members] and Kurdish civilians comes from Israel,” Reuters news agency reported.
“Our enemies are also the enemies of Israel,” Karayilan said, referring to Turkey’s warmer ties with Iran and Syria, which are Israel’s foes.
Turkey has officially refused to negotiate for a settlement with the PKK, which it labels a terrorist organization.
Haaretz daily printed excerpts of the interview, which was conducted at a PKK base in northern Iraq and is due to be broadcast in full by Israel’s privately-owned Channel 2 television.