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Ceasefire Is Over: Kurds Call Time After Erdogan Engineers Election Victory

In the wake of Turkey’s “elections” held a few days back, the question was how the market would ultimately view the results of the country’s trip to the ballot box.

Make no mistake, this was to certain extent a complete farce. That is, as soon as it became apparent that elections held in June yielded results that did not support President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bid to alter the constitution on the way to consolidating his power, it was clear that Ankara would undercut the coalition building process on the way to calling for snap elections. 

In short, Erdogan wanted a mulligan and in order to boost the odds that new elections would yield the outcome he wanted (i.e. more support for AKP and less support for HDP), he engineered a NATO sponsored civil war with the PKK in order to scare voters into backing away from their support for the Kurds. 

What the market wants, of course, is stability, which is why the lira rallied hard in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s elections. But in reality, this was a lose-lose for Ankara. Either AKP won back its majority at the expense of democracy or the opposition once again put up a strong showing, validating the democratic process but prompting a renewed crackdown from the regime. In other words, there will likely be instability either way.

Well, now that Erdogan has won, the PKK has called off a pre-election cease fire. Here’s Reuters with more:

Kurdish militants scrapped a month-old ceasefire in Turkey on Thursday, a day after President Tayyip Erdogan vowed to "liquidate" them, dashing hopes of any let-up in violence in the wake of a national election.

 

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group said the ruling AK Party, which won back its parliamentary majority in Sunday's election, had shown it was on a war footing with attacks launched this week.

 

"The unilateral halt to hostilities has come to an end with the AKP's war policy and the latest attacks," it said in a statement carried by the Firat news agency, which is close to the militant group, based in the mountains of northern Iraq.

 

Erdogan, who oversaw a peace process with the PKK that collapsed in July, vowed on Wednesday to continue battling the group until every last fighter was "liquidated".

 

Yes, Erdogan is going to fight the Kurds until Ankara “liquidates every last fighter” which means the country’s civil war is going to continue unabated. That portends further danger for civilians. Make no mistake, Erdogan’s most powerful weapon over the past six or so months has been fear and the PKK has variously accused Ankara of effectively terrorizing their own people in order to strengthen the position of the regime. 

 

Well now, in the wake of what many view as rigged elections, the PKK has called an end to the cease fire. Here’s Reuters with more:

 

Kurdish militants scrapped a month-old ceasefire in Turkey on Thursday, a day after President Tayyip Erdogan vowed to "liquidate" them, dashing hopes of any let-up in violence in the wake of a national election.

 

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group said the ruling AK Party, which won back its parliamentary majority in Sunday's election, had shown it was on a war footing with attacks launched this week.

 

"The unilateral halt to hostilities has come to an end with the AKP's war policy and the latest attacks," it said in a statement carried by the Firat news agency, which is close to the militant group, based in the mountains of northern Iraq.

 

Erdogan, who oversaw a peace process with the PKK that collapsed in July, vowed on Wednesday to continue battling the group until every last fighter was "liquidated".

 

The PKK's latest declaration, on top of the renewed surge in violence, was a fresh source of concern for foreign investors who broadly viewed Sunday's election as offering the potential for increased stability in NATO-member Turkey.

 

However, generally weaker Turkish financial markets showed little immediate reaction to the PKK move.

 

The PKK - designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union - declared the ceasefire on Oct. 10, saying it wanted to avoid violence that might prevent a fair election. The government dismissed it as an electoral tactic.

Right, an "electoral tactic," much like starting a civil war in an effort to frighten the electorate into "voting" for a dictator. 

As we've documetned extensively, the interesting thing to note here is that this comes as Washington is set to, i) embed spec ops with the PKK-affiliated YPG  in Syria and, ii) fly missions from a Turkish airbase to support that effort. 

So the question is this: if the PKK steps up its attacks on the Erdogan regime, how will Ankara reconcile that with Washington's move to place ground troops with the group's Syrian sister organization and what will that mean for two air forces that are flying from the same base at Incirlik?