Will Washington take PKK off terrorist list?

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By: Guy Swan

In a part of the world that suffers from a paucity of players willing to confront ISIS, one nation–a stateless nation, that of the Kurds who reside within Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria have taken the banner and captured the hearts and minds of  Americans and the world at large. Unfortunately, due to a set of tragic and bizarre historical circumstances, some groups in Turkey’s Kurdish minority were unable to come to a peaceful coexistence within the Turkish state and a state of war existed between them for the last 30 years, resulting in the PKK being designated a terrorist organization and their founder [Abdullah Öcalan] being exiled in solitary confinement [much like Napoleon]to an island in the sea of Marmara.

The question asked of Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, by a senior journalist of the Washington Press Core, was how would she characterize Washington’s relationship with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at the present time?

Ms. Psaki responded by saying that the PKK remains a designated terrorist organization, emphasizing that this hadn’t changed.

Everyone in Washington, including the journalist that asked the question, knows that the PKK is officially listed as a terrorist organization. So why was the question asked in the first place? Did the journalist really expect a different answer?  Maybe, maybe not –but more than likely that first question was asked in order to set the stage for the one that followed.

The second question asked: At this time, is there any discussion regarding de-listing of the PKK? Ms. Psaki responded by saying “If there was, I wouldn’t get into it from the podium.”

The latter part of her answer, “I wouldn’t get into it from the podium” simply implies that any discussions concerning a possible change in status, which may or may not have occurred, regarding the PKK could not be discussed in public.

But it’s the first part of her response that is something of a riddle: “If there was.”

The question requires a simple yes or no answer, but she didn’t respond by saying yes or no. She said “If.” Had she said no that would have put the issue to rest, but she didn’t say that.  She said “If.”

This deceptively simple two-letter word bears close inspection.  Her use of the word if  leaves much to the listener’s imagination.  It implies something that may happen or may be true. 

In effect what she said was, “Maybe, but I’m not telling.” The point is—she didn’t say no.

 


Guy Swan is the Associate Editor at ARA News agency.

Opinions do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of ARA News. 

 

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