Mar 08 2019

At least 4,280 killed since end of Turkey's peace talks with PKK - Crisis Group

At least 4,280 people lost their lives due to the conflict between Turkish security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) since a peace process broke down in July 2015, according to data released by the International Crisis Group (ICG) on March 6.

Then prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2012 announced the start of formal negotiations to end a PKK insurgency that has killed 40,000 people since 1984. PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan announced a ceasefire in 2013.

Violence in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has surged after the ceasefire collapsed in 2015, leaving the three-year peace process in tatters and reviving the conflict. Heavy fighting between Turkish forces and groups affiliated with the PKK left urban centres in Turkey’s southeast in ruins, with civilians trapped in their homes under strict curfews.

According to the International Crisis Group, an independent conflict prevention organisation, 464 civilians lost their lives since the end of the ceasefire. Majority of these individuals have been killed in urban clashes in the south-east or in PKK’s bomb attacks in metropolitan centres.

According to the most recent data updated on March 6, in two-and-a-half years, at least 1,140 members of the state security forces, including police officers, soldiers and village guards -a Kurdish paramilitary force established in the 1980s by the Turkish military to combat the PKK- died.

More than half of the death toll belongs to PKK, that has fought a three-decade armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey. 2,453 members of the armed group and affiliates active in Turkey have been killed, the organisation said.

Ankara says that more than ten thousand militants have been “neutralised” since the resumption of hostilities in July 2015, however, Crisis Group said its figures should not be seen as a refutation of fatality claims made by the Turkish government.

Some 223 individuals of unknown affiliation also died in areas of clashes, overwhelmingly in the southeastern urban zones where the Turkish state declared several long-lasting military curfews, the group said.

The fatality rate in the conflict, concentrated in predominantly Kurdish southeastern cities Diyarbakır, Şırnak, Mardin and Hakkari, peaked in the winter of 2015/2016, according to Crisis Group.

The PKK is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/content/turkeys-pkk-conflict-visual-explainer