February 15, 2021, Alexandria, VA | The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) strongly condemns the execution of 13 Turkish hostages including Turkish soldiers, police officers and civilians held by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists in northern Iraq.

Since 1984, the PKK, designated by the United States, NATO and EU as a terrorist organization, has caused the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women and children and billions of dollars of property damage worldwide. The PKK, based in northern Iraq, is funded by revenue from narcotics smuggling, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of women and children, as well as state and private supporters of international terrorism.

Since 2015, the Syrian wing of the PKK, People’s Protection Units (YPG), sharing the same strategic directions and resources along with PKK in Syria, has been posing a direct national security threat to Turkey. The US-made weapons given to the YPG directly threaten Turkey, as they easily pass into the hands of PKK fighters inside Turkey and Iraq. In June 2016, during anti-PKK operations near the Syrian border, the Turkish army seized US-made anti-tank rockets from the PKK, which clearly showed that the YPG was transferring US-provided arms to the PKK.

ATAA urges the United States and NATO member countries to increase their support for Turkey in ending the PKK/YPG terror by cutting their supplies and forcing them to surrender to Turkish authorities.

As the preeminent representative of the Turkish American community, the ATAA mourns the loss of life and offers our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of PKK terrorism and the Turkish nation, and wishes them strength, patience and determination.