Kurdish party urges German role to end conflict in Turkey | News | DW | 27.09.2015
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Kurdish party urges German role to end conflict in Turkey

Turkey's pro-Kurdish party has called on Germany to play a greater role in resolving the conflict between Kurdish militants and Turkish security forces. The party has warned the fighting may push more refugees to Europe.

Hamburg Co-Vorsitzende HDP Selahattin Demirta

Politician Selahattin Demirtas has been speaking to Turkish nationals living in Germany

Selahattin Demirtas, the charismatic co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), has called on Germany to play a greater role in bringing about a peaceful and democratic solution to Turkey's Kurdish issue.

"We need the support of the Federal Republic of Germany in particular for the resolution of the Kurdish question," Demirtas told reporters on Sunday in Hamburg. His party is on a multi-city tour in Germany in a bid to draw support among the Kurdish diaspora ahead of a snap election in Turkey on November 1.

The comments come as clashes between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces have spiked following the breakdown of a two-year ceasefire and peace negotiations in July. More than 150 soldiers and police have been killed since the resumption of violence, while the Turkish government claims to have killed at least 1,000 PKK fighters.

"If battles between the Kurds and the government in Turkey intensify, it could trigger a mass departure from Turkey into Europe," Demirtas warned. "Germany could and should play a more substantial role here than previously."

Tens of thousands of Kurds from Turkey have come to Germany during the nearly three-decade long conflict between the PKK and Turkish state, which has claimed the lives of some 40,000 people.

In a Turkish-language interview with DW, Demirtas on Saturday repeated his call for the Turkish state and PKK to end the violence and resume peace talks. He noted that European and German calls for the resumption of peace negotiations have a positive impact.

Opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) accuse the government of restarting the conflict with the PKK in order to gain nationalist votes ahead of re-run elections on November 1.

The snap polls follow elections held in June, in which the AKP failed to gain enough votes to form a majority government for the first time in more than a decade. The June ballot also brought a first for the HDP Kurdish party, which overcame the 10 percent electoral threshold to enter parliament - taking 13 percent of the vote.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and US, but its image has improved in the West as its sister party in Syria has been at the forefront of the fight against the "Islamic State."

cw/gsw (dpa, dw)

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