With the Afrin Operation on the agenda, international media outlets started writing about Turkey viewing, regarding or considering the PYD as an extension of the PKK. But, are the ties of the PYD with the PKK and the threat it poses to Turkey really that subjective?
PYD militants posing under the picture of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the PKK
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey is ready to launch a military operation in the Syrian region of Afrin which is controlled by the YPG. This announcement has been making the headlines in international media outlets with analyses about a possible Turkish operation. While mentioning the ties between the PYD and the PKK (which is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU), many of them are using a terminology suggesting that these ties and the security threats it poses to Turkey reflect the subjective opinions of Turkey. For instance the New York Times emphasized that Ankara views YPG as an extension of PKK. Reuters used the same terminology. The Guardian stressed that Turkey views (PYD) as a subversive threat and an extension of the PKK. BBC also expressed that Ankara regards the PYD as a national security threat and an odd-shoot of the PKK. The examples vary.
However despite the terminology used in these media outlets, the subsidiary nature of PYD (and its armed wing YPG) with the PKK is indisputable. First of all, the authorities themselves and the official sources in the U.S. admitted on many occasions that the PYD is the Syrian branch of the PKK. The U.S. then-defense minister Ashton Carter confirmed the substantial ties between PYD and PKK during a testimony before the Senate panel on 28 April 2016. Also the United States National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), which is the primary organization in the U.S. government for integrating and analyzing all intelligence pertaining to terrorism possessed or acquired by the U.S. government, described the PYD as the Syrian affiliate of the terrorist PKK-KONRA-GEL (KGK). However the NCTC later removed this page from its website after it came to the public eye.