ISTANBUL- A senior commander in the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on Tuesday called on armed followers to refrain from unprovoked attacks on security forces as violence escalates in southeastern Turkey following the collapse of a ceasefire.
Duran Kalkan, a member of the PKK's executive committee, stopped well short of ordering a new truce but said attacks on conscripts and other soldiers merely doing their duty violated the PKK's "views."
More than 60 police officers and soldiers have been killed in attacks by the PKK and affiliated groups and close to 200 have been wounded, dashing hopes that a 2-1/2-year ceasefire could spell the end of the long-running insurgency.
Turkey's state-run news agency, Anadolu, says 800 PKK fighters have been killed. The numbers are difficult to verify.
"Absolutely no attacks should be made against soldiers who have not embarked on an operation nor attacked guerrillas or civilians, who are uninvolved in political administration, who are simply at the border to defend their country or standing at a post," Kalkan told Firat News, a PKK-allied news organization.
His call may also raise questions about the how much control the PKK exerts over the groups claiming responsibility for attacks since since mid-July when violence surged after Turkey began airstrikes against militants in northern Iraq and Turkey.
The PKK distanced itself from the assassination of two police officers on July 22 that was claimed by a splinter group, saying the killers were part of a local group unconnected with the PKK. Turkey began military operations after the attack.