After two weeks of a tense standoff, a clash erupted between armed wings of the PKK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) on the Iran-Iraq border, with at least two KDPI peshmergas reported killed.
The incident came after the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned that the PKK is not only threatening Kurds in Turkey to vote for pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), but is also a serious concern for others in the region.
The attack was condemned by the parliament of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, which is at odds with the PKK and has called for self-rule in some parts of the KRG, including Sinjar. "We seriously warn both Kurdish parties to avoid the use of violence and the gun in settling their political problems," the statement read.
Erdoğan has said that the HDP follows a policy of threats in southeastern regions of Turkey in the run-up to the June 7 parliamentary elections. Erdoğan said: "We aim to cherish life, but unfortunately the mentality backed by the terrorist group is still in pursuit of blood, life, threats and terrorizing."
Speaking in the predominantly Kurdish province of Şanlıurfa at an opening ceremony on Sunday, Erdoğan stressed the atmosphere of terror that both the PKK and HDP are trying to create in southeastern Turkey. Reminding the audience of the Oct. 6-8 events in which 50 people lost their lives when pro- and anti-PKK Kurdish groups clashed, Erdoğan said: "They are calling it doing politics. Does politics mean harboring the shadow of arms of the terrorist organization? Does politics mean pouring people onto the streets in the Oct. 6-8 incidents and causing 50 deaths?"
Remarking that there is an effort to divide the country through terror, he said: "Here, this is the party [HDP] that is supported by the terrorist organization. Indeed, these divided the country. These pushed this country toward discrimination. They call it Kurd or Arab. They come into the square and say, ‘We are not the divider.' How are you not the divider? You are the very image of a divider."
Corroborating Erdoğan's words, the PKK increased its activities in the region by firing its guns toward other Kurds in Iran. It was reported on Sunday morning that a clash erupted between the PKK and the KDPI on the Iran-Iraq border. While at least two KDPI fighters were reportedly killed in the clash, the PKK lost four of its militants.
"Early this morning, the PKK attacked our peshmerga [units] and unfortunately, what we were afraid of just happened," Mohammad Saleh Qadri, the KDPI's spokesman told press officers on Sunday. It was also reported by regional sources that the clash erupted due to a dispute between the two sides over the control of an area, and the top echelon of the PKK is against KDPI forces entering the aforementioned region in order to prevent the KDPI's starting an armed rebellion against Iran.
Regarding the deadly clash, Rustom Jehangiri, who is head of the Military Commission of the KDPI, said on Monday that the PKK has closed all paths of dialogue despite every attempt. However, they are in favor of dialogue in order to solve each problem of supporting members who live in Iran and serve people. Furthermore, another officer of the party, Loghman H. Ahmedi, the KDPI's head of foreign relations, issued a statement in which he claimed the PKK clashed with the KDPI because of the party's clear support for the reconciliation process with the Turkish government. He said: "The PKK knows very well that the KDPI has always supported the democratic process in northern Kurdistan [in Turkey] and the fact that they used this pretext to claim that they had not attacked our peshmerga forces could in itself be interpreted as a conspiracy."
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