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2,981 killed in two years since truce collapse between Turkey, PKK

A man walks among the wreckage of vehicles as Turkish rescue workers and police inspect the blast scene following a car bomb attack on a police station in the eastern Turkish city of Elazig, on August 18, 2016. At least three people were killed and another 120 injured on August 18, 2016 in a car bomb attack on a police headquarters in eastern Turkey, a local security source said. The explosion, blamed by Defence Minister Fikri Isik on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), happened in the garden of the four-storey building in Elazig. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

A total of 2,981 people were killed in two years during clashes between Turkish forces and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists since the collapse of a truce in effect in the summer of 2015, according to an International Crisis Group report (ICG).

The ICG on Thursday released a report on the occasion of the second anniversary of the end of a truce between Turkey and the PKK. According to the report, out of a total of at least 2,981 people killed, 1,378 were PKK militants, 976 were security force members and 408 were civilians. The remaining 219 people, whose ages were between 16 and 35, were designated “youths of unknown affiliation,” to account for urban deaths of people who could not be positively identified as civilians or members of the PKK or its urban youth wing.

Around one third of all deaths occurred in Hakkari province’s Yüksekova district, Şırnak province’s Cizre and Silopi districts, Şırnak’s provincial centre, Mardin province’s Nusaybin district and Diyarbakır province’s Sur district. In June 2016, the conflict moved back to its traditional rural arena. Since then, around 90 per cent of all deaths, as tracked by Crisis Group, occurred in rural south-eastern districts, said the report.

While the report does not predict an end to the conflict between the two parties in the near future and suggests a renewal of the truce as the only solution, the attacks against the local officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) by PKK members have increased support for the AKP.

The report said that marginalization of the local Kurdish movement could increase violence and participation in the PKK.”

Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with jailed PKK chief Abdullah Öcalan for several years until the truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015.

Since then, there have been heavy clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces.

More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

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