Turkish President Erdoğan rules out ‘negotiation’ with PKK

Turkish President Erdoğan rules out ‘negotiation’ with PKK

Turkish President Erdoğan rules out ‘negotiation’ with PKK

AA photo

Militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have no option other than laying down their arms or surrendering to Turkey’s security forces, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, dismissing any prospect of further “negotiations” with the group.

“We will continue fighting until the last weapon is silenced. People say, ‘Please Mr. President, don’t break [operations against the PKK]. But how could we take a break? You see that they have made bombs using teapots while laughing,” Erdoğan said on April 4, referring to recent release of images and video recordings of PKK militants allegedly showing them preparing hand-made explosives using kitchen teapots.

The images and videos were seized by security forces in the town of Yüksekova in the southeastern province of Hakkari.

“We said ‘resolution process,’ but they deceived us. No word from any of them can be trusted. We will finish everything and then we will achieve southeast of serenity and prosperity,” Erdoğan said, addressing a convention of the Turkish Red Crescent Society (Kızılay) in Ankara.

The PKK is listed as terrorist organization by Turkey as well as by the European Union and the United States.

In recent months Turkey has been hit by its worst violence in years, after a fragile peace process shattered in July 2015 following a two-and-a-half-year de facto ceasefire between security forces and PKK militants.

“With our government’s efforts, the region will witness a very different change. Those who are currently meeting with the terrorist organization speak of ‘negotiation.’ But there are no issues to be negotiated. There are now two paths for terrorists who target our citizens with bomb-laden vehicles: Either they surrender and accept the ruling delivered by the judiciary about them, or they are neutralized in the place where they are trapped,” Erdoğan said.

The president’s words came after recent remarks by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who suggested the PKK sending its armed components abroad as a condition for a restarted peace process. 

“We didn’t end the peace process. The ones who set up barricades, dug holes and called for a civil war ended it,” Davutoğlu said, according to daily Habertürk.

“What the public expects from the peace process is the complete abandonment of arms. If that happens and we go back to May 2013, and if the PKK sends all of its armed components abroad, leaving no armed element in Turkey, then everything can be talked about. The PKK has to lay down arms, there is no other way. Why wouldn’t talks take place in peaceful conditions after guns are laid down?” he added.