4 April 2016
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled out a return to ‘negotiations’ with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu hinted that there could be a return to the table.
Speaking at a Turkish Red Crescent convention the President said, “Until all the arms raised against our state and nation are silenced, until all threats are eliminated we are going to continue our fight against terror. We have no tolerance, no hesitation and will not take a step back… We talked of a resolution process but they tricked us, they played games. We cannot trust a single word they say, it’s over now. Now we are going to finish the job, we are going to deal with the issue and god-willing create a peaceful and prosperous southeast [Turkey]. Our government is now regenerating the area, and hopefully the area is going to change. Executives of the terrorist organisation [PKK] and those acting in line with it are at times talking of negotiations and a resolution. There is nothing to be negotiated. Everyone needs to comprehend it so.”
Erdogan also said militants had two choices, “to surrender or be annihilated.”
Answering journalists’ questions on his recent visit to Diyarbakir’s Sur neighbourhood, Prime Minister Davutoglu had said that talks could resume if there was a return to conditions pre-May 2013. “If the PKK remove all their armed forces from the country, like in May 2013, we can talk about anything,” said Davutoglu.
Some commentators interpreted Davutoglu’s comments as a response to recent calls by the PKK and HDP for a return to the resolution process. Others have said it is ploy to create expectation and weaken the backlash from the PKK as spring begins.
Negotiations ended in April 2015 when President Erdogan declared that he did not recognise the ‘Dolmahbahce Agreement,’ made between Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK and government officials. The 10 article document was termed as being the framework for future negotiations.
Erdogan later admitted that he had ended the process because it was favouring the HDP and weakening the AKP in the run-up to the June 2015 general election.
State officials have since been using the killing of two police officers in Ceylanpinar as the reason for ending the resolution process. More than 400 state forces are thought to have died in clashes since July 2015.