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A woman walks inside a bullet-riddled house in Sur district of the Kurdish dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, in this Oct. 30, 2015 file photo.
Sertac Kayar / Reuters
PKK ends unilateral cease-fire with Turkey
Kurdish armed group ends monthlong truce one day after Turkish president vows to ‘liquidate’ it
November 5, 201512:08PM ET
Kurdish fighters scrapped a month-old cease-fire in Turkey on Thursday, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to "liquidate" them, dashing hopes of any let-up in violence in the wake of a national election.
"The unilateral halt to hostilities has come to an end with the AKP's war policy and the latest attacks," the PKK said in a statement carried by the Firat news agency, which is close to the group, based in the mountains of northern Iraq.
Twenty people were killed in clashes with the military in the mainly Kurdish southeast on Thursday, bringing this week's death toll to more than 40. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the insurgency since it began in 1984.
The PKK's latest declaration, on top of the renewed surge in violence, was a fresh source of concern for foreign investors who broadly viewed Sunday's election as offering the potential for increased stability in NATO-member Turkey.
However, generally weaker Turkish financial markets showed little immediate reaction to the PKK move.
The PKK — designated a “terrorist group” by Turkey, the United States and the European Union — declared the cease-fire on Oct. 10, saying it wanted to avoid violence that might prevent a fair election. The government dismissed it as an electoral tactic.
On the day the cease-fire was announced, more than 100 people were killed in a double suicide bomb attack targeting pro-Kurdish activists in the capital Ankara, and the following day Turkey launched airstrikes against PKK fighters.
"It is clear that a fresh halt to hostilities can only be achieved with a new will for a solution of the Kurdish problem within the Turkish state and talks aimed at such solution," the PKK's statement said.
"We call on all the Kurdish people, the peoples of Turkey and democracy forces to step up their struggle."
Erdogan has said the peace process, which Ankara launched with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in late 2012, has been consigned to the "refrigerator." Ocalan last held talks with a pro-Kurdish delegation on the process in April.
In the latest violence, the military killed 16 PKK fighters in a rural area near the town of Yuksekova, by the Iraqi border, the General Staff of the Republic of Turkey said on its website. The army had said it had killed 15 PKK fighters and lost two soldiers there on Wednesday.
In the town of Silvan, where authorities imposed a round-the-clock curfew on three districts this week, one police officer and two men were shot dead in clashes, bringing the death toll there to five this week, security sources said.
They said one soldier had also been killed in a clash with fighters on Thursday in the Diyarbakir district of Dicle, which is also partly under curfew. Two fighters also died in Dicle.