Published by EKurd Daily, November 5 2015

Kurdish PKK fighters

ISTANBUL,— The rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) said Thursday that it had torn up a unilateral truce in Turkey after a surge in deadly violence since the country’s weekend election.

Its announcement comes after several days of Turkish air raids against the PKK in both Turkish Kurdistan in the southeast of the country and across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan and a spate of deadly clashes.

“The unilateral state of inaction has ended due to the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government’s latest attacks,” the PKK said in a statement carried by the pro-Kurdish news agency Firat.

“After the election, the AKP has demonstrated it is going to be a war government,” said the PKK.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had vowed on Wednesday that Ankara would press ahead with its military campaign against the rebels in a conflict that has plagued Turkey for more than three decades.

The PKK said in statement that at least 15 Turkish soldiers killed in Oremar region of Hakkari’s Yuksekova district, ANF reports.

Violence flared up in July between the guerrillas and government forces after a deadly bombing against activists in a Kurdish town, shattering a 2013 ceasefire reached after secret talks between Ankara and the PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan.

The PKK on October 10, declared a unilateral ceasefire and pledging to suspend all offensive actions, a move seen as aiming to ease tensions ahead of November polls.

Emboldened by its surprise election victory, the AKP has since gone on the offensive against both the Kurdish rebels and opponents of Erdogan, including critical media.

‘Keep on fighting’

“The operations against the terrorist organisation inside and outside the country are continuing in a determined fashion,” Erdogan said on Wednesday.

“There will be no break. We will keep on,” he said in his first major policy speech since the AKP’s win, which was also a major personal victory for the man who has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade.

“We will keep on fighting until the terrorist organisation buries their weapons under concrete and its members surrender and leave the country.”

Turkish war planes pounded PKK targets in the southeastern Kurdish town of Yuksekova on Wednesday, the army said, the third straight day of air strikes since the vote.

The military said 31 Kurdish militants were killed in the raids, but the figures could not be independently verified.

One Turkish policeman was also killed in clashes with PKK fighters on Thursday in Silvan, another southeastern town, where a curfew was declared this week, security sources told AFP.

Another four militants were killed in clashes with Turkish security forces in the southeast this week.

The PKK’s executive committee (KCK) called on the Kurdish people to step up the struggle “against AKP fascism” and vowed to resist every attack targeting the group.

“We have always made it clear that we are ready for a bilateral ceasefire,” Thursday’s statement said.

“But it’s not possible to maintain a state of in action in the face of the AKP’s current policies.”

The resumption of hostilities in July, and a spate of attacks blamed on jihadists from the Islamic State group, were seen as key to the election victory of the AKP, which said during the campaign it was the only party that could restore security.

Voters deserted the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in droves in the election, although they were able to scrape together enough votes to remain in parliament.

In a historic breakthrough, the HDP had become the first party representing the Kurds to enter parliament in the June election that had seen the AKP stripped of its majority.

Since it was established in 1984 the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, with the aim of creating an independent Kurdish state.

In the 1990s, the PKK limited its demands to establish an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds, who make up around 22.5 million of the country’s 78-million population but have long been denied basic political and cultural rights, its goal to political autonomy. A large Turkey’s Kurdish community openly sympathise with PKK rebels. The conflict has since claimed 45,000 lives.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and US, but its image has improved in the West as its sister party in Syria has been at the forefront of the fight against the “Islamic State.”

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