Germany, Iraqi Kurds say Turkey should resume peace process
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
AFP photoGerman Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Iraqi Kurdish President Massud Barzani have agreed that Turkey must continue the Kurdish peace process despite escalating violence, Berlin said July 29.
Turkey has launched military strikes against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in Turkey and northern Iraq, as well as against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadists in Iraq and Syria, following attacks it blames on the two groups.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 28 that Ankara cannot continue the peace process with the Kurds in the face of attacks on security forces, vowing to press ahead with strikes.
Steinmeier and Barzani spoke by phone the same day and "agreed that the PKK and Turkey must resume the peace process, and that an escalation only serves the extremists", a German foreign ministry spokeswoman said.
Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition has accused Erdoğan of ordering the air strikes against the PKK as revenge for its strong performance in June 7 elections which cost the ruling party its overall majority.
Germany -- a NATO partner of Ankara and home to about three million people of Turkish origin, including many Kurds -- believes "the peace process must be continued", the spokeswoman said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel had stressed that point in talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu at the weekend.
"The current situation is difficult" but "the continuation of the peace process is what is best for the future of Turkey," said the spokeswoman, who added that senior diplomats from both sides were soon set to discuss the issue in Ankara.
The PKK has waged an insurgency for self rule in Turkey's southeast since 1984 that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
The parties appeared to be inching towards a peace deal after a 2013 ceasefire, but the renewed fighting has left the prospects of a settlement as far off as ever.