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Turkey's President Says Peace Process No Longer Possible With Kurds

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on July 28 that Kurdish militants are undermining Turkey’s national unity and integrity, and that it is “not possible to continue” the peace process with them.

His remarks came after the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) said that its cease-fire with Turkey effectively ended when Turkish air strikes last week targeted PKK militant camps in northern Iraq.

His comments also came just hours after Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz on July 28 blamed Kurdish militants for blowing up a natural gas pipeline linking Ankara with the Iranian city of Tabriz.

The overnight blast ruptured the pipeline in Turkey's Agri Province about 15 kilometers from Iran's border.

Besir Atalay, spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said that the peace process with the Kurdish militants could continue if “terrorist elements” put down their weapons and left Turkey.

"We cannot say that the peace process is de-facto over. There is currently a stagnation in the mechanism but it would restart where it left off if these intentions emerge," Atalay told a news conference on July 28 in Ankara.

Turkey last week launched a crackdown against Kurdish demonstrators across the country while, at the same time, it began air strikes on Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria.

The IS militants are also fighting Kurds in Syria and northern Iraq.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP