QANDIL,— Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) armed wing, the HPG, has released casualty figures of the past year’s clashes between Kurdish rebels and the Turkish army according to which 442 guerrillas and 2,982 Turkish police and soldiers have been killed.
In a statement issued on Tuesday the HPG also said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was “solely accountable” for the war and the destruction of Kurdish cities in the country.
“The AKP government was never committed to the peace process. It started a propaganda war before launching its indiscriminate offensive on July 24, 2015 which led to the total destruction of Kurdistan,” the statement reads and accuses the army of having used “the heaviest weapons with most destructive technology” against Kurdish cities.
According to the released data, the Turkish army has launched 356 land operations, 658 areal bombardments, 1649 heavy artillery shelling, 110 direct clashes since July last year.
The PKK guerrillas have during the same period carried out 1199 “actions”, destroying 386 military vehicles, 15 tanks, 4 Cobra helicopters and targeting 110 military checkpoints.
The numbers of the prisoners are accordingly 16 guerrillas and 13 soldiers and policemen.
The Turkish army has not commented on the figures although it has released different numbers in the past and put the death toll for the guerrillas considerably higher.
The balance sheet released by PKK of war in Turkish Kurdistan cities and towns for the period between 24 July 2015 and 23 July 2016.
The balance sheet for one year is as follows:
Members of state forces killed: 2218
Members of state forces injured: 690
Members of state forces taken prisoner: 2
Armored vehicles destroyed: 457
Armored vehicles damaged: 307
1 Sikorsky helicopter and 1 train were damaged
Drones downed: 65
PKK members martyred: 363
PKK members injured: 15
PKK members taken prisoner: 16
Civilians martyred: 298
Civilians injured: 27
PKK units also seized a large quantity of ammunition from Turkish state forces and destroyed several arms and vehicles belonging to Turkish forces.
Turkey has frequently bombed PKK bases inside Kurdistan region after clashes resumed between Ankara and Kurdish guerrillas in July 2015.
The PKK has some 5,000 guerrilla soldiers stationed mostly in the remote bordering areas of Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
Since July 2015, Turkey initiated a controversial military campaign against the PKK in the country’s southeastern Kurdish region after Ankara ended a two-year ceasefire agreement. Since the beginning of the campaign, Ankara has imposed several round-the-clock curfews, preventing civilians from fleeing regions where the military operations are being conducted.
Observers say the crackdown has taken a heavy toll on the Kurdish civilian population and accuse Turkey of using collective punishment against the minority.
Activists have accused the security forces of causing huge destruction to urban centres and killing Kurdish civilians.
Pro-Kurdish opposition political parties say about 1,000 civilians, mostly Kurds, have perished in the fighting, since the Turkish offensive against the PKK centred in towns and cities in Turkish Kurdistan.
The PKK took up arms in 1984 against the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to push for greater autonomy for the Kurdish minority who make up around 22.5 million of the country’s 78-million population. A large Turkey’s Kurdish community openly sympathise with PKK rebels.
The PKK statement came only a day after the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) co-leader Selahettin Demirtas announced that the party intended to initiate talks between the PKK and Ankara after they stalled last year prior to the elections.
Demirtas has said the HDP plans to send two delegations to PKK leadership in Qandil Mountain in the Iraqi Kurdistan and Imrali Island on the Mediterranean coast where the influential PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is imprisoned and has been rejected to meet his HDP mediator since early last year.