Courting Kurdish vote, Erdogan warns against sabotaging peace

DIYARBAKIR: Kurdish demonstrators have blocked a highway in southeast Turkey and seized a soldier in protest at the building of military outposts, exposing the fragility of a peace process, which Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan hopes may help him win the presidency.
Erdogan launched a peace process with Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan in 2012 to try to end a three-decade insurgency, which has killed 40,000 people, a move long unthinkable in the face of strong nationalist opposition. Erdogan is widely expected to run in Turkey’s first direct presidential election in August and support from its Kurdish minority, which accounts for around a fifth of the population, could be key to his chances of success. He would need a simple majority to win in the first round. His ruling AK Party secured support of around 45 percent nationwide in municipal elections at the end of March, suggesting every vote will count. 

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