PKK Kurdish rebels suspend attacks ahead of Turkey polls

There has been speculation that the PKK was to announce a new ceasefire to help the HDP boost its score in the upcoming election

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The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Saturday declared a “state of inactivity” after months of attacks in Turkey, pledging to suspend all offensive actions ahead of November polls.

“Heeding calls from Turkey and abroad, our movement has decided on a state of inactivity by our guerillas, unless our people and our guerilla forces are attacked,” Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella movement that includes the PKK, said in a statement.

“During this process, our guerilla forces will refrain from carrying out planned activities, will not engage in any kind of activity apart from preserving its current position and make no attempts to hinder or harm the exercise of a fair and equal election,” it said.

There had already been suggestions that the PKK was to announce a new ceasefire to help the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) boost its score in the upcoming election on November 1.

The announcement came following twin explosions in Turkey’s capital Ankara on Saturday that killed at least 30 people who had gathered for a peace rally organized by leftist and pro-Kurdish opposition groups.

It was not immediately clear if there was any connection in the timing of the KCK statement, which did not reference the attack.

The rebels had since late July staged almost daily attacks against members of the security forces, after a two-year-old truce, killing over 140 Turkish police and soldiers.

The government, for its part, claims to have killed over 1,700 Kurdish militants in a relentless bombing campaign against the group.

“All those bearing responsibility towards the peoples of Turkey must see that our attitude entirely serves Turkey’s democratization, peace and stability,” the KCK said.

“A lasting solution to the problems won’t be found by only expecting self-sacrifice from our side in an atmosphere where the existence of our people is not recognized and their freedom is not ensured.”

Over 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding an independent state for Kurds. Since then the group has narrowed its demands to greater autonomy and cultural rights.