Kurdish party: Turkey heading towards civil war

2015-09-10 14:00
Turkish nationalists wave Turkish flags as they gather in the Uskudar district in Istanbul during a demonstration against the Kurdistan Workers' Party. (Yasin Akgul, AFP)

Turkish nationalists wave Turkish flags as they gather in the Uskudar district in Istanbul during a demonstration against the Kurdistan Workers' Party. (Yasin Akgul, AFP)

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Istanbul - Turkey's mainstream pro-Kurdish party warned on Thursday that the country was "increasingly drifting into a civil war," voicing concern over escalating violence between the state and the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) added that its offices have come under repeated attack from nationalists in recent days, with its headquarters in Ankara suffering severe fire damage.

"Over 128 party buildings all over the country have been attacked," a statement from party read. "Moreover, the police and other security forces of the state did not do their job to prevent the attacks."

The HDP this week also warned of a number of ethnic-based attacks targeting Kurdish citizens. Kurdish shops have been damaged by mobs, according to footage posted on social media.

The party, which received 13% of the vote in a June election to enter parliament for the first time, also expressed concern over "oppressive measures" being implemented in the mostly-Kurdish south-east, including the imposition of curfews.

In Cizre, near the Syrian border, a curfew has been imposed for a week. The HDP currently has a delegation, including the head of the party Selahattin Demirtas, trying to reach Cizre in a peaceful march, but the party says they are being denied entry by the military.

Armed conflict

The town and other areas in the region have seen some of the heaviest fighting between the PKK and the state.

At least 180 people, including civilians, militants and members of the security forces, have been killed inside the country since a two-year ceasefire broke down in July after peace talks stagnated, according to a dpa tally.

Turkey has also carried out airstrikes against PKK bases in northern Iraq, though it is unclear how many people have been killed there.

"We are trying to push both PKK and the Turkish state to end this armed conflict," the HDP said in the Thursday statement, blaming the violence on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and calling for international help to impose a fresh ceasefire.

The HDP is seen as having denied the AKP a majority in parliament for the first time since 2002, by passing the 10% threshold in June. Both parties accuse the other of escalating tensions between Ankara and the PKK.

Turkey is headed for a snap election in November after the four parties in parliament failed to agree on a coalition government, raising concerns about political instability. The AKP insists the country can hold elections despite the security situation.

The ruling party has also condemned the attacks on the HDP and on Hurriyet newspaper, a daily whose headquarters was twice assaulted this week by angry mobs chanting Islamist slogans and voicing support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Read more on:    turkey  |  security

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