Rebel party end truce in Turkey

  • 06/11/2015
Turkey Flag (Reuters)
Turkey Flag (Reuters)

By Dilay Gundogan and Mahmut Bozarslan

The rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) says it has torn up a unilateral truce in Turkey after a surge in deadly violence since the country's weekend election.

Today's announcement comes after several days of Turkish air raids against the PKK in both southeastern Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq 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, considered a terrorist organisation by Ankara and its Western allies, said in a statement carried by the pro-Kurdish news agency Firat.

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.

About 45,000 people have been killed since the PKK launched an armed campaign for greater autonomy in southeastern Turkey in 1984.

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

The PKK had however said after the devastating suicide bombings on a pro-Kurdish peace rally in Ankara last month that it would suspend all attacks, except in self-defence - a move seen as aiming to ease tensions ahead of last Sunday's poll.

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.

"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.

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