Turkish government rejects PKK calls for negotiations: Opposition leader

April 20, 2016 6:27 pm

Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) (Reuters photo)

The Turkish government has rejected a call made a few months ago by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group to return to negotiations with Ankara, a pro-Kurdish opposition leader says.
“A few months ago, we were in contact with Qandil (PKK) in an effort to return to the negotiating table. The government knew that we were working for this but the government rejected it,” Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said at a press conference in Istanbul on Wednesday.
A ceasefire between the outlawed PKK and the Turkish government collapsed last July. Since then, attacks by PKK militants against Turkish forces have increased.
Ankara has been also engaged in a large-scale campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the past few months. The Turkish military has been conducting offensives against the positions of the militant group in northern Iraq as well.
The Turkish military operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accuse the Ankara government of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of attacks against Turkish police and security forces, prompting the Turkish military operations.
The PKK launched its insurgency against in 1984. So far, more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
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