A leading pro-Kurdish lawmaker on Sunday said that the EU’s reliance on Turkey’s role in solving the migrant crisis should not overshadow calls for peace in the country’s southeast, where Turkish security forces and Kurdish rebels are locked in conflict.
“The reason they (the EU) are glossing this over (the conflict in the southeast) is to not anger (Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan; because to be able to find a solution to the migrant problem they need Erdogan.” Selahattin Demirtas, head of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) said.
“This approach is wrong, because the issue of human rights is a fundamental one and it cannot be evaluated according to political relationships. We call on the European Union to be more courageous on both issues: the subject of human rights and the subject of the Kurdish peace process,” he added.
His comments came a day ahead of a crucial Turkey-E.U. summit in Brussels which aims to slow the flow of migrants traveling to Europe and take back thousands who do not qualify for asylum.
A fragile two-year-old peace process between Turkey’s government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, collapsed in July, re-sparking a three-decades-old conflict in Turkey’s southeast that has killed tens of thousands of people.
“War and internal conflict cannot be seen as a Turkish problem. The European Union must be more courageous. Instead of half-heartedly calling on all sides to end hostilities it should demand that both sides announce a ceasefire and return to the negotiating table,” the HDP leader said.
Hundreds — many of them police and soldiers — have died in the renewed fighting.