PKK announce 24-hour ceasefire ahead of Turkey elections
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Saturday announced a temporary 24-hour ceasefire against the Turkish state.
According to a statement from the party’s leadership, the ceasefire will be enforced from midnight until the end of day Sunday (00:00 – 23:59).
The PKK statement said the ceasefire is meant to allow Kurdish voters in the country’s southeast to cast their ballots at polling stations during Turkey’s snap elections on Sunday.
Six candidates are vying for the Turkish presidency, among them incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muharram Ince, and the imprisoned former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas.
The PKK has been locked in a decades-long fight with the Turkish government over broader Kurdish rights.
Tensions increased following the collapse of a two-year ceasefire between the rebel group and Ankara in 2015.
Since then, Turkey has increased its operations against the PKK and has even expanded its campaign into the Kurdistan Region’s Qandil Mountains where the group has headquarters.
Turkey’s military has crossed up to 20 kilometers deep in some areas to target the PKK, and bombardment from Turkish jets occasionally result in the death of civilians unaffiliated with the Kurdish rebels.
Ankara, as well as the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, and NATO, consider the PKK a “terrorist” group.
The conflict between Turkey and the PKK has resulted in over 40,000 casualties on both sides as well as the destruction of villages and infrastructure.