Turkish PM says pro-Kurdish HDP 'rooted in violence', cancels meeting

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during a meeting with representatives of foreign media in Istanbul, Turkey, December 9, 2015. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s prime minister on Saturday canceled a planned meeting with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), saying its politics was rooted in violence, as government forces pursued a security operation in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

A two-year ceasefire between Kurdish militants and Ankara fell apart in July, plunging the southeast back into a three-decades-old conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had been due to hold meetings this week with the leaders of all three opposition parties in parliament to discuss planned constitutional reform. His meeting with the HDP leader was scheduled for Wednesday.

“Recent statements by HDP officials reflect a politics that benefits from violence and tension. There is no longer any point in sharing the same table with this attitude,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

The army said in a statement on Saturday that more than 200 Kurdish militants had been killed in security operations over the last two weeks.

A 3-month-old baby and her grandfather who was carrying her to hospital both died in clashes between security forces and militants in the southeastern town of Cizre, where a curfew has been imposed since Dec. 14.

Separately on Saturday, one militant group called the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons claimed responsibility for an attack that killed one person at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport on Wednesday.

Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Hugh Lawson