“Turkey Rejected Return to Talks With PKK “


Demirtas-HDPChairman Selahattin Demirtaş said his Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which has Kurdish origins, had persuaded PKK leaders based in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq to return to the negotiating table.

“A few months ago, we were in contact with Qandil in an effort to return to the negotiating table. The government knew that we were working for this, but the government rejected it,” Demirtaş told a news conference in Istanbul.

“Qandil said it was ready for talks, but Ankara said there would be absolutely no return to the table. As long as it says this, can there be a one-sided negotiating table?”

President Tayyip Erdoğan, who spearheaded the historic peace process before it collapsed last year, has publicly ruled out a return to negotiations and has vowed to crush the PKK, since 1984 in conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people.

Erdoğan accuses the HDP of being the political wing of the PKK, which Demirtasş denies.

Broadcaster CNN Turk, quoting the armed forces, said on Wednesday Turkish warplanes had struck PKK targets in northern Iraq. The Turkish military frequently strikes camps in Qandil.

Separately, the military said it had concluded operations in the town of Yuksekova on Wednesday, killing 196 PKK members since mid-March. Turkey, along with the United States and the European Union, considers the PKK a terrorist group.