More violence in Turkey - EU warns Ankara

2015-08-04 19:56


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Istanbul/Brussels -  Two Turkish security force members were killed on Tuesday by a landmine in the restive south-east of the country, the Dogan news agency reported, as the European Union warned the Turkish government against taking any destabilising action.

The explosion took place in Sirnak, which has witnessed violence over the past two weeks. About 25 people have been killed so far amid a steady uptick in attacks.

A ceasefire that the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK) declared in 2013, has collapsed.

The group is carrying out attacks targeting security forces and natural resources pipelines, while Turkey has launched a barrage of airstrikes against the PKK in the south-east and in northern Iraq.

Turkey's civil war has killed about 40 000 people over the past three decades.

Ankara launched the airstrikes on the PKK at the end of July after attacks against police officers, carried out in retaliation for a suicide bombing that killed 32 people at a pro-Kurdish youth rally near the Syrian border.

The EU has expressed "deep concern" to the Turkish government over "recent developments which have a negative impact on the Kurdish-Turkish settlement process", according to a statement distributed on Tuesday.

"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," Johannes Hahn, the EU's commissioner for enlargement and neighbourhood policy, was quoted as saying after a telephone call with Turkish EU minister Volkan Bozkir.

"The EU acknowledges that Turkey has the right to prevent and react to any form of terrorism, which must be unequivocally condemned. The response, however, must be proportionate, targeted and by no means endanger the democratic political dialogue in the country," the statement added.

Turkey has been seeking membership in the EU since 1987, but negotiations have repeatedly stalled.

Hahn also spoke on Friday with Salahattin Demirtas, the leader of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, calling for the ceasefire to be "reinstated for the benefit of all Turkish citizens", the statement says.

Read more on:    eu  |  turkey

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