Kurdish issue related articles, news etc.
With Turkey resuming military strikes against the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the PKK, Sweden hosted one of the nation’s newest political leaders, Selahattin Demirtas.
Demirtas is the leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, a party representing Turkey’s Kurdish minority, and held some informal talks with the Swedish government.
Unrest in Turkey has been growing since the summer when Turkish voters stripped President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party of a simple majority. And, for the first time, voted in the mostly Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP.
Since the election, the country has failed to form a government and is now calling for snap elections at the start of November.
That political unrest has been compounded by the country’s military problems. On the same day in July when Turkey announced it would help fight militants in Syria with Islamic State, Turkish forces began bombing one of the groups that has been working to stop the terror organization’s advance: the PKK, which is itself widely listed as a terrorist group.
And all this has Sweden calling for a cease fire from both sides. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström explains:
Turkey had been managing a fragile peace process with the PKK for the past 2 years but that has fallen apart. Just this week, 8 Turkish soldiers were killed by Kurdish militants and Turkish fighter jets carried out evening air raids on caves and shelters of the PKK between the Turkish-Iraqi boarder.
Wallström says Sweden isn’t pointing the finger at one side or the other for the breakdown. And adds that the two sides should be coordinating their efforts against the region’s bigger threat.
Wallström says, if asked, Sweden would gladly take up a diplomatic role to help move the peace process forward and underscored that the Nordic nation would remain a strategic partner with Turkey.
Party leader Demirtas, who was invited to visit Sweden by the Olof Palme International Center, echoes that sentiment.
Speaking with Swedish Radio News, Demirtas names Sweden an important player and hopes that it can take a more active role in the conflict in Syria and in Turkey.
But not everyone would like to see Sweden work closely with Demirtas and his HDP. A handful of protestors were outside yesterday’s press conference between him and Wallström, denouncing the PKK and Demirtas, saying he hasn’t done enough to denounce the group and cut ties with it.