U.S. reassures Turkey over executions after Erdogan calls response ‘a joke’

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday reassured Ankara that Washington blames the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for the executions of 13 kidnapped Turks in northern Iraq, after Turkey called an earlier U.S. statement on the killings “a joke.”

Turkey said on Sunday militants from the outlawed PKK executed the captives, including Turkish military and police personnel, amid a military operation against the group.

The United States had said on Sunday evening that it stood by fellow NATO member Turkey and that it condemned the killings if it was confirmed that responsibility lay with the PKK.

Turkey, already angered by Washington’s partnership with Kurdish fighters in neighbouring Syria, was infuriated by the conditionality of the statement and summoned the U.S. ambassador to Ankara on Monday.

In a call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday, Blinken “affirmed our view that PKK terrorists bear responsibility,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Price did not say if the call was made in response to Turkey summoning the U.S. ambassador. A call between the countries’ two top diplomats had been anticipated for weeks.

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