I don't want to call PKK members 'terrorists': chief of staff
REUTERS photoTurkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel said he did not want to call members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) "terrorists" yesterday.
Özel described PKK members as people deceived by the outlawed organization, in an interview with journalist Fikret Bila from daily Milliyet.
The Turkish Armed Forces have treated PKK members in a humane way and within legal boundaries, Özel said. "We always call upon [the PKK militants] to surrender at first contact. But due to the propaganda they have been fed by the terrorist organization, they almost always open fire on us or are too frightened to surrender."
Özel said 112 PKK members have turned themselves in and 50 were captured alive during land operations in the last six months, while 165 militants were killed. Air strikes left 325 militants dead and wounded 320 according to gathered intelligence, Özel said. This decreased morale and led to an increase in the number of members abandoning the organization, he added.
Dersim documents being sorted Özel said archival documents regarding the killings in Dersim in 1938 were being sorted by the armed forces. "Dersim documents were not sorted until now. The sorting process began a month ago and the documents will be available to researchers once the process is complete."