Istanbul, July 27 () - The European Union’s top diplomat has voiced support for Turkey’s ongoing operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) camps in Iraq, while emphasizing the utmost need for keeping the Kurdish peace process alive.
The EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy and vice-president of the commission, Federica Mogherini, conducted a phone call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and offered the EU’s condolences to the Turkish government and the families of the victims in Suruç and of other recent attacks against police and military officers, said a written statement from her office.
Mogherini reaffirmed support for Turkey’s efforts to step up on ISIL and fight any form of terrorism, it noted.
“At the same time, Federica Mogherini underlined the fundamental importance of keeping the settlement process with Kurdish people alive and on track. Terrorist groups must not spoil the process and the cease-fire must be preserved. Any action taken should avoid the risk of endangering the cease-fire and the Kurdish peace process that remains the best opportunity in a generation to solve a conflict that has claimed far too many lives” the statement said.
“The Turkish government has shown in recent years courage, firm intention and wisdom in bringing forward a political process that is the only means of reaching a stable solution to the conflict, for the sake of all the Turkish people. The EU will keep supporting the government on this path” it said.
Turkey has increased its role in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL since a suspected ISIL suicide bomber killed 31 people on July 20 in a town close to the Syrian border, while pledging to also target PKK militants.
Turkey has detained dozens of suspected ISIL members and hundreds of Kurdish and leftist individuals, while also cracking down hard on peace marches organized in the wake of the July 20 attack.
This has raised concern about the future of the shaky Kurdish peace process. Critics including opposition politicians accuse President Tayyip Erdoğan of trying to use the campaign against ISIL as an excuse to crack down on the Kurdish opposition in a bid to win a stronger mandate for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in possible early elections.