Saying Turkey has Kurdish issue is insult to government - Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said claims that talking about a Kurdish issue in Turkey is an insult to his government, pro-government daily Sabah reported on Friday.

"We have done everything for the Kurds. To say there is a Kurdish issue is an insult to us. There is no Kurdish issue, there is an issue of Turkey. You need to address this as a whole. I have never discriminated against my Kurdish brothers," Sabah quoted Erdoğan as saying during a meeting with his ruling Justice and Development Party deputies.

As part of the larger Kurdish-Turkish conflict, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has fought Turkish security forces since launching a separatist uprising in Turkey’s southeast in the early 1980s, later changing its aims to demand equal rights and autonomy, rather than independence.

As prime minister at the time, Erdoğan initiated a process of talks between Turkey’s intelligence service and the PKK leadership in 2009. However, the talks failed in July 2015. Since then, maintaining his bellicose rhetoric on the conflict in Turkey's majority Kurdish southeast, Erdoğan has repeatedly said the country has no Kurdish problem but only a terrorism problem.