Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan calls off peace process with Kurds | News | DW | 28.07.2015
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan calls off peace process with Kurds

Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan has called off a peace process with Kurdish militants. He also encouraged parliament to strip politicians with links to "terrorist groups" of immunity.

Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan said on Tuesday that it was impossible to continue a peace process with Kurdish militants.

"It is not possible for us to continue the peace process with those who threaten our national unity and brotherhood," Erdogan said, referring to Kurdish militants during a news conference ahead of a state visit to China.

A fragile truce between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - considered a terrorist organization by the government - has endured since March 2013, when it ended an insurgency in the predominantly Kurdish part of the country's southeastern region.

"Those who exploit the people and the state's tolerance and patience will receive the answer they deserve as soon as possible," Erdogan noted.

Turkey launched airstrikes on Kurdish militant camps in northern Iraq over the weekend after several Turkish police officers and soldiers were killed in attacks blamed on the PKK.

"Turkey will use whatever rights stemming from international law till the very end," Erdogan said.

Turkey called for an extraordinary NATO meeting last week after cross-border attack said to have been conducted by "Islamic State" militants. Ankara responded with airstrikes against IS targets in Syria.

Striking Kurdish targets was expected to be a contentious point of the country's broad "war on terror" at Tuesday's NATO meeting, though Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made no reference to the situation between Turkey and the Kurds at the meeting's opening remarks. Instead, Stoltenberg said that NATO was "following developments very closely and we stand in strong solidarity with our ally Turkey."

The Turkish president also urged parliament to strip politicians with links to "terrorist groups" of immunity, a move that was largely seen as targeting Turkey's pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP).

The newly formed HDP marked the first substantive gain for a pro-Kurdish party, gaining 13 percent of the vote in June's parliamentary elections.

The conflict between the PKK and Turkey has left 40,000 people dead since it began in 1984.

ls/jil (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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