Turkey has been trying to play US President Donald Trump’s game by painting Antifa as a terrorist organization in official remarks and pro-government media reports.
A few days ago Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aide, Fahrettin Altun, told David Satterfield, the US ambassador to Turkey, that Antifa cooperates with the Kurdish militia in Syria as well as being helped by Gülen followers in the US in the ongoing protests sweeping the country.
Turkey accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016, although it strongly denies any involvement.
“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” Trump tweeted on May 31, in an angry response to the street protests and looting that erupted after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
Turkey’s state-run media outlets, the Anadolu news agency and public broadcaster TRT, reported on Trump’s tweet, adding that Antifa had worked with Kurdish militia in Syria in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Antifa is a platform for left-wing anti-fascist groups in the US with a growing number of sympathizers since the election of Trump in 2016.
The pro-government Daily Sabah reported on Friday that the Turkish police warned about the “threat that the Antifa movement would create, a year before the group came up once again on the agenda after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to designate the antifascist movement a terrorist organization.”
The report claimed that the Kurdish militia in Turkey and Syria, namely the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which were designated as terrorist organizations by Ankara, have been seeking to attract foreign fighters to their cause by using Marxist or leftist groups such as Antifa.
Melih Altınok, a columnist with Daily Sabah, also wrote about Antifa’s role in the recent protests in the US, arguing that the Turkish people are familiar with the group by way of its cooperation with terrorist groups.
“We, the Turkish people, know this organization from its cooperation with the YPG/PKK terrorist group, which is also supported by the U.S., in northern Syria,” he wrote on Thursday.
Altınok also brought to mind Erdoğan’s previous warning to the US: “Be sure those terrorists you love so much will turn not only their hate and slogans but also their guns on you, the day when you upset their interests.”