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Pittella: ‘We urge Turkey to keep the Kurdish peace process alive’




turkey.flagThe S&D Group has welcomed Turkey’s fresh commitment to step up its fight against the ISIS/Daesh following the heinous attack by the terrorist group against peaceful activists in the Turkish town of Suruc. The agreement to allow the use of the Incirlik airbase by the anti-ISIS coalition is an important step in the right direction. This should be complemented by improving the control of the Turkish-Syrian border and stepping up security measures against ISIS/Daesh cells in Turkey, as the Parliament has repeatedly asked the Turkish authorities to do.

Gianni Pittella, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said: “We welcome the decision of the Turkish government to officially start the fight against Daesh terrorism which is our global enemy. We warn the Turkish authorities to avoid any action against the political party HDP and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) who are fighting Daesh terrorism in the northern Syria. We strongly believe that it is very important to keep the peace negotiations with the Kurdish alive.”

Richard Howitt MEP, the S&D Group foreign affairs co-ordinator, welcomed the package and said:   “In the past few days we’ve seen a deeply disturbing trend of arrests of peaceful activists, including through use of the provisions of the internal security bill, which was criticised by the European Parliament. We fully support the efforts by the authorities to seek to arrest and prosecute suspected ISIS/Daesh militants, within proper legal norms. We also recognize Turkey’s right to defend itself from the violence of the outlawed Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK). However, we strongly reject the criminalisation of peaceful dissent expressed by members and sympathizers of legal political parties under the pretext of the ‘war on terror’.

“Socialists and Democrats believe such actions risk diverting the attention and focus from the fight against ISIS/Daesh, which should be the main priority, and derail the Kurdish peace process in Turkey. In the past the Turkish government has shown courage and wisdom in pursuing peace and reconciliation with the country’s Kurdish population. We strongly urge the government to return to the path of dialogue and not to sacrifice the country’s long-term stability for the sake of short-term political gains. We equally call on the Kurdish political and community leaders to act with restraint and responsibility, and distance themselves from any violent acts.”

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