The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Co-Presidency Council has announced the termination of its unilateral ceasefire, citing escalated attacks by Turkey and the worsening isolation of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı Island Prison.
The KCK highlighted that despite holding over four months of self-imposed ceasefire, which the Kurdish forces declared in immediate response to the February earthquakes, the Turkish government’s aggression against the Kurdish people has continued to rise.
Top PKK commander Cemil Bayık declared an unprecedented armistice on 10 February due to the earthquake disaster that shook Turkey’s southeast and Syria’s northwest.
On 28 March, the co-chair of the KCK’s executive council, Besê Hozat, declared that the Kurdish military forces had decided to extend the no-action period until Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections in May, although the group eventually extended the self-imposed cease-fire until June.
During the Kurdish forces’ period of inaction between 11 February and 12 June:
Turkish forces made a total of 3916 offensives, including 380 air strikes, over 3000 fires with howitzers, tanks and heavy weapons, 150 hits with thermobaric, phosphorus or tactical nuclear bombs and resulting in the death of 35 guerrillas, according to the People’s Defence Forces’ (HPG) press centre. The HPG also alleged that Turkish forces used chemical weapons 17 times in this period.
Meanwhile, Turkish forces carried out three air raids against Sinjar (Shengal) and conducted nine cross-border attacks in other regions of Iraqi Kurdistan, said the HPG, including an air strike against the Suleymaniyah International Airport on 7 April in the data.
The KCK also mentioned the killing of Hüseyin Arasan in Sulaymaniyah (Silêmanî), Iraqi Kurdistan, as an example of the initiation of a new wave of attacks by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) alliance against the Kurdish movement and people. In response to this “fascist onslaught”, the council declared “the need for active resistance and striking back at the enemy wherever possible”.
“Our decision [of inaction] received positive views and support from our people, patriotic and democratic Kurdish organisations, various individuals, democratic forces in Turkey, regional and international actors, and the democratic public,” said the KCK. “However, the Turkish state and the AKP-MHP government intensified their attacks, undermining the significance of our decision. The fascist AKP-MHP government has continued its assaults without interruption, persisting in its targeting of guerrilla-held territories and the use of banned weapons.”
The Council said that Turkey had further escalated assaults on the people and democratic politics, referring to the wave of arrests against pro-Kurdish party members and supporters ahead of the elections and continuing to date. The KCK also pointed to Öcalan’s absolute incommunicado detention for over two years.
According to the KCK, the relentless attacks by the AKP-MHP government and the failure of the opposition in Turkey to respond to calls for support compelled them to end the self-imposed ceasefire. The council argued that without dismantling the current AKP government, no progress could be achieved. It called upon the Kurdish people, revolutionary democratic forces, and all others concerned to intensify their struggle against the “fascist AKP-MHP government.”
The KCK concluded by stating that active resistance had become unavoidable, officially announcing the end of their self-imposed ceasefire with immediate effect.