S&Ds Press release – Call on Turkey to return to Kurdish peace process

During the European Parliament debate on the situation in the south-east of Turkey, MEPs from the Socialists and Democrats Group called on Turkey to return to the Kurdish peace process.
The S&D Group stated it will also visit the region in February.
Kati Piri, S&D MEP and European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey, said:
“The situation in the south-east of Turkey is very worrisome. Since the fighting between the PKK and the state security forces restarted last summer, the situation on the ground has been escalating further day by day.
Turkey’s right to fight against terrorism is not questioned. And the so-called ‘retaliation actions’ from the PKK last week – killing police officers and their family members – can in no way be justified. The general feeling, however, is that the curfew and operations by Turkish forces are about collective punishment rather than being aimed at restoring public order.
Peaceful protestors should be allowed.  I am also gravely concerned about the intimidation and prosecution of more than 1,000 academics who signed a petition calling for peace. How can reasonable people calling for the violence to stop be labelled traitors and promoters of terrorism?
The EU must make a strong and determined call for a ceasefire and for the peace talks to be re-started. And those people who can be part of a peace campaign must be empowered and supported”.
S&D vice-president for foreign affairs, neighbourhood policy and enlargement, Knut Fleckenstein MEP, said:
“Too many people have already died during the conflict. The only way that all ethnic and religious groups in Turkey can live peacefully side-by-side is through a political solution.
We strongly urge the government to return to the path of dialogue and not to sacrifice the country’s long-term stability. Equally, we call on Kurdish political and community leaders to act with restraint and responsibility. And finally, we urge the Commission to state clearly that we disagree with the Turkish authorities’ current policy in the south-east of the country and that there needs to be a change.
A delegation from the S&D Group will also travel to south-east Turkey in mid-February to see the situation on the ground and to support one of our sister parties, the HDP, in their fight for a more democratic, peaceful and equal Turkey”.