Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using





2 years into revived PKK-Turkey conflict, crisis group foresees more violence

By Rudaw 20/7/2017
A funeral for victims of the July 20, 2015 Suruc bombing. Photo: EPA
A funeral for victims of the July 20, 2015 Suruc bombing. Photo: EPA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – On the second anniversary of a return to conflict between Turkish forces and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the International Crisis Group (ICG) says key factors point to increased violence in the coming months. 

A two-and-a-half-year ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish army ended on July 20, 2015 after an ISIS suicide bombing killed 33 young pro-Kurdish activists in Suruc during a press conference announcing a trip to help with the reconstruction of Kobane, Syria after Kurdish forces defeated ISIS in the town. The PKK subsequently killed two police officers in a revenge attack, claiming they collaborated with ISIS in the Suruc bombing. 

The renewed hostilities differed from previous rounds of violence in that the conflict was brought into urban areas. “Violence peaked between February and May 2016 when fighting erupted in some urban districts of south-east Turkey for the first time in the conflict’s 33-year history,” ICG stated. 

The ICG has confirmed 2,982 casualties in the two years of conflict. That includes 977 Turkish security forces, 1,378 PKK fighters, 219 youth of unknown affiliation, and 408 civilians. 

Noting that the PKK has not carried out any major urban attacks since December, the ICG nevertheless points to two factors that it believes indicate a likely escalation in the violence. 

First is US arming of Kurdish forces in Syria. The YPG is a major US ally fighting ISIS on the ground in northern Syria and the city of Raqqa, but Turkey alleges the group is an offshoot of the PKK. 

“Once the Raqqa offensive ends, the likelihood of military confrontation may increase if US engagement wanes or if Turkey decides to strike the YPG in north-west Syria,” ICG states, adding that the PKK may be “emboldened” by the military support for the YPG. 

Turkey has already built up forces in northwest Syria, around the Kurdish canton of Afrin, leading to “violent” clashes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The YPG maintains that it is a separate entity from the PKK, though it has the same ideological roots. 

The second factor indicating a likelihood of increased violence between the PKK and Turkish forces, according to ICG, is recent threats made by a PKK offshoot, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK). 

TAK threatened to attack Turkish cities and tourist sites in a June 6 statement. 

ICG’s predictions come amid heightened nationalism in Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strengthened his hand in the aftermath of last year’s attempted coup, introducing an executive presidency and overseeing the systematic jailing of the pro-Kurdish opposition. 

Ankara’s crackdown on the Kurdish political movement “could have long-term consequences, legitimizing resort to violent means and driving up PKK recruitment,” ICG warns. 

“A resumption of talks appears unlikely in the foreseeable future but remains the only viable path to resolving this deadly conflict,” the crisis group concluded. 


kingi | 21/7/2017
We must not forget that ISIS is an offshoot of the AKP, and that Turkey supplied ISIS weapons and ammunition. And it is Turkey that is carrying out brutal terror, executions, genocide.
Mohamedzzz | 23/7/2017

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Gokce Kavak | 12/19/2018 6:21:33 AM
Tahir Elci is a Turkish Kurdish person working for Turkish Government. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) and The Nationalist Movement Party...
Gokce Kavak | 12/19/2018 6:40:48 AM
Turkey 🇹🇷 totally condemns Austria 🇦🇹 and Israel 🇮🇱’s works and long-term arrangements and also strictly condemns the European Union 🇪🇺 for...
Briton appealing Turkey terror sentence flees to UK: report
| 15/12/2018 | (6)
Josh | 12/19/2018 5:11:02 AM
I wish Iraqis will understand that Iranians has killed more Iraqis since the days of I Islamic rule and stop their blind loyalty to Iran and its...
Iraq, Iran exchange bodies of war dead
| 11 hours ago | (1)
alfred | 12/17/2018 3:49:20 PM
kurds should not be stupid to have wrong pride. and for sure - all fractions ,parties of the kurds from all regions must stand together for their...
Truly Kurd | 12/19/2018 2:33:43 AM
One PKK supporters saying to Peshmerge go to librate Kirkuk first. Well then someone should tell PKK/YPG go to librate Afrin." That is called...
UPDATE: SDF rejects Peshmerga offer to bolster Syria-Turkey border: monitor
| 16/12/2018 | (14)
PCDurum | 12/18/2018 11:25:36 PM
It shames me and you for not trying to bring your own people together! Erdogan is not your friend anymore than Saddam was your friend!The Kurdish are...
PCDurum | 12/18/2018 11:32:52 PM
It does not surprise me pre boomer MB! Trump only ever thinks about himself as so many!Trump is a brutal fool in charge of a Super power which is...
Turkey offensive in Syria ‘a bad idea’ warns US rep Jeffrey
| yesterday at 11:46 | (12)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

After shedding IS, Mosul embraces makeovers 3 hours ago |

After shedding IS, Mosul embraces makeovers

"They have hair or skin problems because of the more
German FM Heiko Maas arrives for talks in Erbil 19 hours ago |

German FM Heiko Maas arrives for talks in Erbil

He earlier met with Iraqi President Barham Salih more
Why doesn’t Iraq do more to prevent Turkish airstrikes? 20 hours ago |

Why doesn’t Iraq do more to prevent Turkish airstrikes?

Iraq’s foreign ministry summoned the Turkish more
0.5 seconds