MARDIN (Turkey) Sputnik — Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday called on Kurds to "leave the barricades" and instead unite and live in peace.
Earlier in the day, Davutoglu arrived in the southeastern Turkish city of Mardin to deliver a speech at the Brotherhood Meetings conference. For safety reasons, the meeting is being held in a closed room with only officials in attendance.
"I urge [the Kurds]: leave the barricades, we have a parliament, let's work in commissions on the democratization of the Constitution," Davutoglu said.
In December, Turkish forces launched a large-scale offensive in the southeast, in an attempt to liberate the region from Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters who had built barricades there.
The city of Mardin in eastern Turkey, which is populated mainly by Kurds and Arabs, has become one of the focal points of clashes between Kurdish militants on the one side and the Turkish army and police on the other.
Tensions in Turkey escalated in July 2015, after 33 Kurdish activists were killed in a suicide blast in Suruc and two Turkish policemen were later murdered by the PKK, which led to Ankara's military campaign against the group which it considers a terrorist organization.