The U.S. Embassy in Turkey said on Saturday that jailed PKK terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan was "not worthy of respect" referring to the fact that a large banner bearing his image was raised in an iconic square in Syria's Raqqah.
"Our attitude towards the liberation of Raqqah as a gain for all Syrians is clear. Our expectation from all sides is to avoid acts that may increase tension or be seen as aggressive," said the written statement from the embassy.
Emphasizing the U.S. government's close work with Turkey in the fight against terrorism, the statement added: "The PKK is an organization on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and Ocalan is in prison in Turkey because of the terrorist activities connected with the PKK. He is not a person worthy to be respected."
When the eastern city of Raqqah was retaken earlier this week by forces including the PKK/PYD and PKK/YPG -- the Syrian branches of the terrorist PKK, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years -- the group unfurled a huge banner bearing the image of jailed terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan in the main square.
In reply to a written query on Saturday, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert also said Ocalan "does not merit veneration" as he was jailed in Turkey "for acts of terrorism as part of the PKK," which she said "is a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization".
"The United States Government works closely with Turkey to fight terrorism and increase regional stability," she added.
As for Raqqah's liberation, Nauert called it "an accomplishment for all Syrians," said and said they "expect all parties to avoid actions that would be seen as offensive or create tensions".
She added that Raqqah and all liberated territory "should return to civilian governance that is representative of, and accountable to, the local population".
"Governance in the city needs to be representative of the local population, respect human rights, and responsive to the wishes of Raqqah's residents," she said.
The U.S. Department of Defense on Friday condemned the raising of the banner.
"We condemn the display of PKK leader and founder Abdullah Ocalan during the liberation of Raqqah," Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told Anadolu Agency.
On the same day, the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition said it did not approve of the display of divisive symbols.
The PKK/PYD, the Syrian branch of the PKK, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years, was among the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that took control of Raqqah from Daesh earlier this week.
The taking of the eastern Syrian city -- considered Daesh’s de facto capital -- was marked by the unfurling of a huge banner bearing Ocalan’s image in the main square.
The U.S. has supported the SDF, which consists of the PKK/PYD and other groups, in fighting Daesh in Syria but has largely ignored its links to the PKK, which the U.S., EU and Turkey list as a terrorist group.
In declaring victory in Raqqah, the PKK/PYD also released a video dedicating the triumph to Ocalan, who founded the PKK in 1978. The head terrorist was jailed for treason in Turkey in 1999.
Since the PKK launched its terror campaign in Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands have been killed.