Turkey’s efforts to end the 30-year Kurdish conflict are “going through a fatal breakdown,” the group overseeing the “solution process” said on Saturday.
In a statement, the “wise men” committee - established to promote and explain talks between the government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) - said “various developments, mutual shortcomings and mistakes, mistrust and new dynamics included in the process have spoiled the climate.”
Eleven members of the committee were meeting in Istanbul for the first time since the PKK renewed its armed campaign and the Turkish military launched airstrikes against the group, considered a terror organization in Turkey, the EU and U.S.
Read by Ali Bayramoglu, a columnist for the Yeni Safak daily, the statement added: “Unfortunately, at this stage, the solution process is going through a fatal breakdown. The curtain of weapons and violence has been re-opened and a war is at our door again.”
The committee called for weapons to be “silenced immediately” and asked the media, opinion leaders, the government and political parties to avoid “scornful discourse that is challenging, discriminatory and accusatory.”
It also urged an end to “all suggestions that would constrict the democratic and political arena and suffocate political room to move”.
Since a suicide bombing in Suruc, southern Turkey, killed 32 people on July 20, the country has witnessed a wave of bombings, shootings and arrests. More than 20 security force personnel have been killed in attacks mostly attributed to the PKK and at least 1,300 people arrested in operations targeting militant groups.
The Turkish air force has bombed PKK bases in Turkey and northern Iraq.
Asked by reporters if he thought the solution process was over, Bayramoglu declined to give an answer because “the group members vary in opinion”.
He added: “This I can tell you as a group opinion: We hope that it is not over and we want to make an effort so that it can continue.”
The solution process refers to talks between the government and the PKK that officially began in 2013 in an attempt to end the conflict that has cost tens of thousands of lives since 1984.
The wise men committee is a 63-strong group of writers, columnists and academics from across Turkey charged with promoting the negotiations and explaining developments to the public.