.
.
.
.

Jailed Kurdish leader warns ISIS victory would end Turkey peace process

Kurdish militants were angered by Ankara’s policy against ISIS, accusing the government of colluding with the group

Published: Updated:

The jailed leader of Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a 30-year insurgency for self-rule, warned on Thursday the peace process could collapse if Islamic State militants seize a key Syrian border town.

ISIS militants have in recent days advanced close to the Syrian Kurdish town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobani to the Kurds, a few kilometers south of the Turkish border.

"The siege of Kobani is far from being just an ordinary siege," PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan said in a message relayed by supporters from his prison on the island of Imrali.

"It does not only target the democratic gains of the Kurdish people but would lead Turkey to a new era of coups.

"If this attempt at a massacre succeeds, it will not only end the peace process, but will also pave the way for a new and long-lasting coup," he said, according to the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency.

Turkey saw a succession of coups in the 20th century, but the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has curtailed the power of the military over the past decade and sought peace with the PKK, who have largely observed a ceasefire since 2013.

Kurdish militants have expressed anger over Ankara's policy against ISIS, accusing the government of colluding with the group and refusing to allow Kurds to cross the border and fight in Syria.