Turkey's president on Monday strongly criticized the US over its "lacking" support amid a recent massacre by the PKK terror group.
"Turkey has killed 42 terrorists in their hideouts, caves during the first phase of Operation Claw-Eagle 2 in northern Iraq," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a provincial congress of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Black Sea province Rize.
Telling the US that if it wants "to continue our alliance globally and at NATO, then you must stop siding with terrorists," Erdogan accused the US of "obviously backing" PKK, YPG and PYD despite claiming otherwise.
Referring to a recent terror attack in which 13 Turkish citizens were martyred by the PKK in Iraq's northern Gara region, Erdogan said "the blood of innocent people martyred in northern Iraq is on the hands of all defending, supporting and sympathizing with PKK terrorists."
Noting that the terror attack was not the first massacre of civilians by the PKK terrorists, the Turkish president called on his US counterpart Joe Biden to "recognize" the terror group well.
Erdogan's remarks criticizing Washington came shortly after the US State Department issued a statement on the incident, saying America stands with its NATO ally Turkey and offered its condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in northern Iraq.
"The United States deplores the death of Turkish citizens […] We stand with our NATO Ally Turkey and extend our condolences to the families of those lost in the recent fighting. If reports of the death of Turkish civilians at the hands of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization, are confirmed, we condemn this action in the strongest possible terms," it said.
The bodies of 13 Turkish citizens were found during Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Iraq, according to National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Sunday.
Turkish forces launched Operation Claw-Eagle 2 on Feb. 10 to prevent the PKK and other terror groups from re-establishing positions used to carry out cross-border terror attacks on Turkey.
Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle were initiated last June to ensure the safety of people and Turkey's borders.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.