Turkish election ‘impossible’ due to unrest: HDP

Since July, the Kurdish southeast has seen almost daily clashes between PKK militants and security forces

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Rising violence in southeast Turkey following the collapse of a ceasefire between the government and Kurdish insurgents will make it difficult to hold an election due on November 1, the head of the pro-Kurdish parliamentary opposition said on Wednesday.

Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast has seen almost daily clashes between militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and security forces since July.

“It is becoming impossible to hold an election given the security situation in the region,” Selahattin Demirtas, the head of the HDP, told a news conference in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.

“We want an election to be held and we are not saying an election can’t be held, but we want the conditions in the region to be improved for an election.”

The conflict has shattered a peace process begun by President Tayyip Erdogan in 2012 to end an insurgency that has killed more than 40,000 people over three decades.

Meanwhile, the United States denounced mob violence against Turkey's main Kurdish party Wednesday but did not assign blame for it and also condemned PKK rebel attacks on Turkish forces.

Growing anger over the renewed conflict between government forces and Kurdish rebels boiled over this week in major Turkish cities with nationalist attacks on the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

The U.S. State Department said the violence and vandalism directed towards HDP facilities and the Hurriyet newspaper was "unacceptable" and endorsed calls from the Turkish government for calm.

"There is no place in a democracy for violent protest, particularly those motivated by partisanship or ethnic animosity," State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

"And, as I said yesterday, we expect Turkish authorities to uphold Turkey's core values, democratic foundations and universally recognized fundamental freedoms."

"We strongly condemn the PKK's terrorist attacks on Sunday that killed 16 soldiers and 12 police officers. This represents a deadly escalation in violence and hurts the cause of those Kurds who want to live in peace."

The tension in Turkey increased sharply after 29 soldiers and police were killed in two attacks in the country's east on Sunday and Tuesday, the deadliest in this recently renewed phase of the conflict.

[With AFP]

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