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PKK extends ceasefire until after Turkiye elections

March 30, 2023 at 9:12 pm

Kurdish PKK marching with their flags [KurdishstruggleWikipedia]

The separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant organisation has announced that it will keep its ceasefire with Turkiye in place until after the upcoming Turkish elections on 14 May.­

Speaking to the PKK-linked outlet, Medya Haber TV, on Sunday, Bese Hozat, co-Chair of the PKK’s executive council, stated that the elections have a historic importance for the “peoples of Turkiye” and that the PKK had decided to maintain its “inaction” until after that period is over.

Reiterating that the group would still retaliate if it comes under attack by Turkish security forces, Hozat assured that “We will evaluate this decision after the elections”.

The PKK – designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkiye, the United States and the European Union – has been under heavy fire by Turkish forces over the past few years, with its affiliated elements in northern Syria largely cleared of the border region, elements in south-eastern Turkiye subjected to counter-terrorism measures and, more recently, some hideouts in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region having been targeted by Turkish airstrikes last year.

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Despite the decades-long conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK, the group announced a temporary halt to its activities and operations in February after the deadly earthquakes hit south-eastern Turkiye and north-western Syria that month.

Hozat also expressed the group’s support for the decision by Turkiye’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) not to nominate a presidential candidate, amid its ongoing fight in the Turkish Constitutional Court against conservative and nationalist efforts to shut down the party over allegations of its links to the PKK.

The HDP is, instead, backing the Chairman of the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is serving as the joint opposition candidate in these landmark upcoming elections. The candidates that the HDP are running for parliament, though, are listed under the Green Left Party (YSP), in an effort to evade the potential closure of the original party.

“We find the HDP’s manner important and valuable and within the scope of its principles”, Hozat said.

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