Erdogan Says Time for Peace Talks in Kurdish Conflict Over, Nothing Left to Discuss

Kurdish militias must either surrender or be neutralized, no third way exists, Turkish president says.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting of local administrators at his palace in Ankara, Turkey, Wedesday, Feb. 10, 2016.
AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nixed the notion of negotiations with Kurdish insurgents on Monday, several days after a suicide bombing in Diyarbakir in the country's southeast claimed the lives of seven police officers and wounded dozens

"The time for peace talks is over, there's nothing left to discuss,"  Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara that was broadcast live by state TV channel TRT. Vowing the stamp out the insurgency, Erdogan said that the Kurdish militias must either surrender or be "neutralized." "Not third way exists," he said. 

Turkey's southeast has been scorched by violence since a ceasefire between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the government collapsed last July. The government has said it has killed thousands of militants since then, while more than 350 members of the security forces have been killed in the fighting. Opposition political parties say between 500 and 1,000 civilians have also died in the fighting

Round-the-clock curfews have been instituted in parts of the southeast, where the economy also been devastated by the fighting. One of the hardest hit areas has been Diyarbakir's historic Sur district, which is encircled by UNESCO-listed, Roman-era walls.