Merkel ally leaves option open of arming PKK

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 3:55 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) - A senior ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has left open the possibility of arming the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as part of efforts to defeat Islamic State (IS) militants.

Germany is sending weapons to Kurds in northern Iraq but Merkel has previously ruled out supporting the PKK, which has spent decades fighting for autonomy for Turkey's Kurds and is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.

Turkey, which has so far resisted pressure to join U.S.-led efforts to fight IS militants in northern Iraq and Syria, would oppose such a move.

"I know the problems that Turkey has with the PKK but to sit back and watch as IS takes important border towns and develops increasingly into a threat for global security cannot be the solution," Volker Kauder, the leader of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) in parliament, told Spiegel Online.

"I do not rule out supporting other groups. But this would have to be done with Turkey, not against it. That also applies to support for the PKK," Kauder added.

U.S.-led efforts to halt the militants have focused in the last few weeks on the Kurdish Syrian town of Kobani, near the border with Turkey.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Noah Barkin)