The Turkish president has said his country cannot continue the peace process with the Kurds amid attacks by Kurdish militants on Turkish targets.
There has been a recent series of clashes between Turkish forces and Kurdish PKK militants. Turkey has also been hit by attacks by by Islamic State-linked militants – including one that left 32 dead in the town of Suruc last week. Turkey considers both the PKK and IS terrorist organisations.
Kurdish YPG fighters in northern Syria, June 2015 Syrian Kurds are “outside the scope of the current military effort,” Turkey insists Over the past week, analysts say, Turkey has turned its approach to the US-led coalition against IS on its head. Previously a reluctant partner, it is now flying combat missions and making its airbases available to US jets.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Ankara that it was “not possible to continue the peace process with those who threaten our national unity and brotherhood”. But the leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition party – the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) – dismissed the claim.
The threat from the group calling itself Islamic State could revive animosity between Turks and Kurds Turkish police have continued to arrest suspected members of IS, the PKK and leftist groups – more than 1,000 over the past week.
Although Turkey insists Syrian Kurds are “outside the scope of the current military effort”, analysts say its new determination to tackle IS is linked to keeping a check on Kurdish militancy.
Speaking after Mr Erdogan, a spokesman for the ruling AK Party insisted that the peace process with Kurdish militants could continue if “terrorist elements” put down their weapons and left the country.