Ankara, Aug 5 () - The European Union has expressed “deep concern” about recent violence between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and urged Ankara to issue a “proportionate” response to avoid endangering the peace process
In a phone conversation with Turkish EU Minister Volkan Bozkır, EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said the union “acknowledged the commitment of the Turkish authorities to stepping up the fight against ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] and reaffirmed the EU’s strong support for these efforts,” a written statement from the commission read.
“At the same time, the commissioner expressed the EU’s deep concern about recent developments which have a negative impact on the Kurdish-Turkish settlement process” Hahn was quoted as saying.
“The EU acknowledges that Turkey has the right to prevent and react to any form of terrorism, which must be unequivocally condemned. We count on Turkey to live up to its important and strategic role for the whole region, by refraining from any action that could further destabilize the region” he said, without specifically citing the PKK.
Hahn also spoke to Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş on July 31 and told him “all parties should re-commit to the peace process and work now on a broad and inclusive political solution.” The cease-fire should be commenced once more for the benefit of all Turkish citizens, Hahn said.
US urges PKK and Turkey nover attacks
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department urged the PKK on Aug. 3 to stop its attacks against Turkey and return to dialogue with the Turkish government amid the ongoing conflict in the country’s east. “These attacks are only exacerbating the continuation and the cycle of violence here. We want to see these attacks cease. We want to see the PKK renounce violence and re-engage in talks with the government of Turkey. And as I said, we want to see the Turkish government respond proportionately” said spokesperson Mark Toner.
Toner also touched on a controversial Aug. 1 Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) airstrike on a northern Iraqi village that reportedly killed at least nine civilians.
“I don’t know the specifics of these attacks, but often – not often, but sometimes, when you have airstrikes or civilians in the area, they can be affected – but these are airstrikes being carried out against PKK targets.
And again, just going to the root of this, the PKK has carried out attacks against Turkey. We have defended Turkey’s right to self-defense in this case, but we want to see the violence end, we want to see the PKK cease its attacks, and as I said, the Turkish government to respond proportionately,” Toner said.
The PKK has stepped up its strikes on Turkish security forces in the last two weeks, as Turkish warplanes bombed its positions in northern Iraq.
The spiral of violence sparked by the killing of 32 pro-Kurdish activists last month in a town on the Syrian border by suspected ISIL militants has left a 2013 ceasefire between the government and the PKK in tatters.
The People’s Defense Forces (HPG), which is linked to the PKK, has claimed the killing of two police officers in the town of Ceylanpınar.