HDP Co-chair Demirtaş calls on gov’t, PKK to silence weapons

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Co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş has called on the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to silence their weapons.

“After all that has happened, the government and the PKK should have understood that the Kurdish problem cannot be solved through the use of arms,” Demirtaş said in a written statement on Tuesday.

The HDP co-chairperson said he does not mean that the Turkish police and military members should lay down their weapons, but rather just silence them.

The Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with jailed PKK chief Abdullah Öcalan for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015. Since then, there have been heavy clashes between the PKK and the Turkish security forces.

More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

In his statement Demirtaş also warned that the threat of a military coup still exists in Turkey.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others.

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