At least five Turkish soldiers and 28 PKK fighters were killed over the weekend in multiple clashes in the Hakkari and Tunceli Provinces, in southeastern Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reported that a battalion commander was among the slain.
Three of the soldiers were killed in clashes on Saturday, in Daglica, while the other two were slain in a remote bombing by PKK forces in Tunceli on Sunday, wounding two other soldiers. The PKK deaths were mostly in and around Daglica, a product of both clashes and airstrikes.
This newest uptick in violence comes just two weeks before Turkey’s national elections, the second attempt at national elections this year, after the first vote ended with no clear winner. The PKK reportedly promised to suspend all offensive attacks for the election.
The PKK was under heavy pressure from pro-Kurdish political figures to agree to a truce for the duration of election season, though Erdogan’s government rejected the idea, saying it was a “political tactic” and vowing to continue war until the PKK is defeated outright.
Turkey’s decision to scrap a multi-year ceasefire with the PKK and renew the war this summer was seen largely as a political move itself, with Erdogan’s ruling party trying to court a nationalist coalition partner who had conditioned a partnership on resuming the war. The deal still didn’t happen, however, forcing a revote.
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