Erdoğan: We instructed governors not to carry out military operations amid PKK dialogue

Erdoğan: We instructed governors not to carry out military operations amid PKK dialogue

Erdoğan: We instructed governors not to carry out military operations amid PKK dialogue

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has publicly acknowledged the administration had instructed governors to not carry out military operations targeting outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants along the now-stalled resolution process for the Kurdish issue, while suggesting the process could restart when positive momentum is captured.

“Of course, along the resolution process, our governors were not seriously getting engaged in current operations against these terrorist organizations in line with our instructions. [With the idea that] perhaps they [the terrorist organizations] would tidy themselves up and would not go on like this but they didn’t tidy themselves up and, quite the contrary, they unfortunately got engaged in a phase of preparation during this process. As a matter of fact, we observed this during the June 7 elections and in the east, in the southeast,” Erdoğan said late on Sept. 16.

The remarks by Erdoğan, who ascended to the presidency in a popular vote in August 2014, came nearly two months into the resumption of fighting between Turkish security forces and militants of the PKK after the collapse in July of a de facto non-conflict. Erdoğan had been the Turkish prime minister from early 2003 until being elected as president.

The renewed conflict has left in tatters a peace process, dubbed the “resolution process” by governmental officials, which Ankara launched. Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence in İmralı Island prison, had at least since late 2012 played a central role in the government-led peace process aimed at ending the three-decade long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and PKK militants.

In an interview with public broadcaster TRT, Erdoğan reiterated an earlier argument that the PKK coerced voters in the run up to the June 7 parliamentary elections, particularly in the predominantly Kurdish populated eastern and southeastern provinces.

The PKK provided a flow of votes to “the political party which they supported despite all measures taken for election security” by putting pressure and threatening “muhtars [village chiefs] and boards at ballot boxes,” the president said, in an apparent reference to the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) which he frequently accused of having organic links with the PKK.

“The ‘democratic initiative’ [process] has been left behind, the national unity and fraternity [project] has been left behind. As I said earlier, the resolution process is in the fridge at the moment. Why wouldn’t it resume when we capture positive developments? There is no obstacle for this but this process has unfortunately been torpedoed by the political party in parliament which is backed by the separatist terrorist organization,” Erdoğan said.