As the Turkish military, under the guise of Operation Olive Branch, continues to push against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) affiliated Kurds in northern Syria, peace talks do not appear to be an option for Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims he will not entertain the notion of reopening peace talks with the PKK according to his staff. The statement was made after Turkish presidential adviser Ilnur Cevik claimed that peace talks may resume after the June 24 elections.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted,

[Translation: There is no such thing as a new peace process or an opening in the agenda of our president. The struggle of all of our citizens, including the Kurds, to overcome the persecution and oppression of the PKK terrorist organization, will continue with determination. Our president has rejected any kind of religious or ethnic discrimination and has shown this through concrete action. Our Kurdish brothers are equal citizens in the Republic of Turkey, like all other individuals. The politics of rejection, denial, and assimilation are no more]

The last peace talks held between the two entities were in 2015 and had be ongoing for over a decade. The recently imprisoned HDP (People’s Democratic Party) presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, was instrumental in organizing the previous peace talks. He was jailed for allegedly collaborating with the PKK directly, he claims the charges are false. President Erdogan is currently attempting to be re-elected and hopes his campaign against the PKK and their alleged allies with give him the edge in votes he needs. Since taking office, he has made constitutional amendments that have given increased power of authority to the presidential office, more so than when he served as Prime Minister. Since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch, 3,492 people have been killed in Turkey alone based on research done by the International Crisis Group.

Featured image: Demonstration of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s policies in front of the Swiss Federal palace by Rama [CC BY-SA 3.0 or CeCILL], from Wikimedia Commons.

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