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Iran Press TV

EU urges Turkey to preserve peace agreeent with PKK

Iran Press TV

Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:34PM

The European Union (EU) has called on the Turkish government to maintain a peace agreement with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and not allow terrorist activities to spoil the truce.

"Terrorist groups must not spoil the process and the ceasefire must be preserved," a statement issued by the office of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini read on Saturday after she discussed the situation in Turkey with the country's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The statement, however, did not clarify what terrorist activities it was referring to.

The statement came after Turkish military aircraft conducted airstrikes against PKK positions at Mount Qandil in the far-flung mountains of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region early on Friday night and on Saturday. The raids were the Turkish army's fiercest against PKK targets since August 2011.

The airstrikes by Turkey came after an attack on Turkish forces in the country's southeastern province of Sanliurfa near the border with conflict-ridden Syria, which was claimed by the PKK, and a bomb attack in the town of Suruc in the province, which killed at least 32 activists and was reportedly claimed by the ISIL terrorist group, which is operating in Iraq and Syria.

The statement by Mogherini's office further read, "Any action taken should avoid the risk of endangering the ceasefire and the Kurdish peace process that remains the best opportunity in a generation to solve a conflict that has claimed far too many lives."

It hailed the efforts made over the past few years to preserve the peace process, adding that the political process "is the only means of reaching a stable solution to the conflict, for the sake of all the Turkish people."

"The EU will keep supporting the government on this path," the statement added.

Merkel, too

Similarly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also urged Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to maintain the peace process with the PKK despite escalating violence.

The chancellor called on Davutoglu "not to give up the peace process with the Kurds but to continue it despite all the difficulties," Georg Streiter, a spokesman for Merkel said in a statement.

The unraveling of a ceasefire

The PKK has declared that the group will no longer uphold a shaky peace agreement with Ankara – which had been in place since 2013 – following the aerial attacks.

The Turkish government launched a peace process with the PKK in 2012 to put an end to the armed campaign by the Kurdish group aimed at gaining autonomy.

The PKK subsequently declared a ceasefire with Ankara and began pulling out from southeastern Turkey to camps in northern Iraq, where they are currently based.

The PKK had been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead.

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