ISTANBUL: President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday Turkey could not lift a state of emergency imposed in the aftermath of a failed coup last July until the country was completely calm.
"We cannot lift the rule of emergency unless everything reaches peace and welfare," Erdogan told a meeting of business leaders in Istanbul.
He said that parts of Turkey's southeast and eastern regions, where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has been fighting a decades-old insurgency, were still flooded with weapons.
"At the moment the mountains in the southeast and east are filled with caves, cities have been set up underground filled with ammunition," Erdogan said.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by David Dolan)