A senior commander in the Kurdistan's Workers' Party, or PKK, called on the group's fighters on Tuesday to refrain from targeting soldiers and security forces who are not directly involved in the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state.
"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," Duran Kalkan, a member of the PKK's executive committee, told Firat News, a pro-Kurdish news organization.
Kalkan's call comes as the Turkish armed forces have reportedly killed more than 800 PKK Kurdish fighters since the beginning of its operation against the group last month. Meanwhile, government figures say that at least 60 police officers and soldiers have been killed since the PKK and Turkey ended a year and half ceasefire when Turkey started attacking the group.
The Turkish government, led by the Justice and Development Party, or AK Party, authorized airstrikes against the PKK's camps in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq after the assassination of two policemen at their homes in the south of the country, which the government blamed on PKK.
However, last week, Murat Karayilan, who is considered to be the PKK's overall leader, said that the group who executed the operation against the policemen was not affliated with the PKK.
Meanwhile, Kallan warned Turkish soldiers not to fall prey to the ruling AK Party's "war games," as he accused the AK Party of launching the operation against the PKK in order to discredit the victory of the pro-Kurdish party, the People's Democratic Party (HDP), in last June's general elections. HDP won more than 80 seats, making it the first pro-Kurdish party to enter parliament in the history of Turkey.
The Kurdish leader further added that his group has taken up armed struggle for the past 35 years and if needed, the group is willing to continue that struggle. However, he stressed that political will was more important as armed struggle could not solve everything.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died since the rebels took up arms in 1984.
In a further display of the Kurdish willingness for peace, the head of the HDP recently called on the PKK and the Turkish government to halt all operations.
“The PKK has to stop its armed attacks and bombings in the towns and the mountains without ifs or buts,” said Selahattin Demirtas told reporters Sunday. "More deaths of Kurds, Turks, soldiers, guerrillas and police must be stopped.”