Kurdistan Workers Party warns Turkey over protest deaths

PKK warns Turkey over protesters deaths

Sun, 15 Dec 2013 22:20:29 GMT

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has warned of reprisal over the deaths of three Kurdish demonstrators shot by police in Turkey.

“The government should know that these attacks and killings eliminate the non-conflict environment and give guerrilla forces the right to reprisal,” the group said in a statement released on Sunday.

On December 6, two Kurds, aged 34 and 32, lost their lives in confrontation with police in the Yuksekova district of Turkey’s southeastern Hakkari province.

The clashes were triggered by claims that PKK members’ graves had been destroyed. However, Turkish authorities denied the allegation.

According to medics, a third protester, who was seriously injured during the skirmishes, died of his wounds in hospital on December 11.

The violence sparked demonstrations in several towns as well as Turkish city of Istanbul.

On December 8, the PKK militants abducted four Turkish soldiers in southeastern province of Diyarbakir and released them the next day after intervention by lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), a local security source said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the abductions as well as the Hakkari incidents as efforts aimed at derailing the ongoing peace process between Ankara and the PKK.

“These are actions perpetrated by those who want to hurt the process. The same way the Hakkari incidents also were steps undertaken and actions made by those wanted to damage the process. This is a similar event,” said Erdogan.

Ankara started peace negotiations with the PKK in October 2012.

In March 2013, the jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, declared a historic ceasefire after months of negotiations with the Turkish government. The truce called on the PKK militants to lay down their arms and retreat to northern Iraq.

However, in September the PKK announced that they were suspending their retreat, accusing Ankara of failing to deliver the promised reforms.

The Sunday statement by the PKK said, “The Turkish state’s attitude has already violated the ceasefire process since the very beginning. It is only those intending to start a war who would resort to such actions in such a period.”

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.

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