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Kurdish ministers quit Turkish government

September 22, 2015

Two Kurdish ministers in Turkey's cabinet have tendered their resignations amid Ankara's offensive against the Kurdistan Worker's Party. The resignations come a little over a month before Turkey will hold snap elections.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu before a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015 (Photo: Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)
Image: picture alliance/AP Images/Presidential Press Office

A statement released by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office on Monday said that EU Affairs Minister Ali Haydar Konca and Development Minister Muslum Dogan had quit their jobs.

The prime minister gave no reason for their decision to leave the government, but sources claim they resigned over a disagreement on the government's terrorism policies at a weekly cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.

Davutoglu has accepted their resignations, but he is unlikely to refill their posts.

Türkei Rücktritt HDP Politiker Ali Haydar Konca und Muslum Dogan
The success of Konca and Dogan's pro-Kurdish party helps explain Turkey's political deadlockImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/B. Ozbilici

Konca and Dogan, members of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP), were appointed as ministers last month ahead of the repeat general elections set to take place on November 1. It was the first time the country's history that a pro-Kurdish party had taken seats in the government, clearing Turkey's prohibitively high 10-percent vote hurdle required to gain a spot in parliament.

Because of the Kurdish minority winning representation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to secure a majority in June 7 vote – for the first time since 2002. Opposition parties refused to form a coalition with the conservative AKP, which had previously ruled without support. Davutoglu formed a caretaker government once coalition negotiations failed and Erdogan called new elections in November.

The ties between Anakra and Kurdish groups have deteriorated in the past months, with the collapse of a peace deal between the two sides.

Ankara has intensified its military campaign against the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) in the past few months. The PKK has responded to the Turkish operation by increasing attacks on the security forces.

The AKP accuses HDP, which won 13 percent of the vote in June, of being a political front for the PKK.

The Turkish military said on Tuesday that 24 of its soldiers were injured in two overnight bombings in the eastern province of Van. The Anadolu state agency claims the bombs were detonated by PKK rebels as a military convoy was passing along a highway.

Earlier, the Turkish air force targeted the Kurdish rebels, killing five insurgents in the Hakkari province.

shs/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)