Withdrawn PKK militants begin return to Turkey, intel report says
Fevzi Kızılkoyun ANKARA / Hürriyet
A total of 65 PKK militant groups retreated from Turkey between May 2013 and Sept. 2013 as part of the peace process, the report said. DHA Photo
According to a report prepared by the police and gendarmerie intelligence units, the total number of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) was approximately 1,000.
However, the militant groups stationed at bases near the border returned to cities within Turkey’s borders, rather than leaving the country.
A report titled “Solution Process/PKK Report” prepared by the Turkish security forces’ intelligence units said the PKK’s withdrawal has stopped completely. A total of 65 PKK militant groups – each consisting of around 14 to 16 people – retreated from Turkey between May 2013 and Sept. 2013 as part of the peace process, which started between the Turkish government and the outlawed group’s leader, sentenced to life on an island prison, according to the report.
“There have been retreats [during the withdrawal] of the more lightly armed, with the more heavily armed remaining in the bases. The movement started from the inner regions toward the border and was slower before October , and then stopped. The [PKK] bases on the borders kept their presence,” said the intelligence report.
The militants who used the bases at the borders during the winter have “moved to the inner areas [of the country], rather than moving to the other side of the borders,” said the report.
“The organization is keeping its presence at the moment and the withdrawals have stopped. The militants who were staying at the winter bases on the borders are moving toward the inner regions as the weather becomes warmer. There is no movement in the roads leading out of the border. There are movements of smaller groups into the inward regions [of Turkey],” said the report.
After Sept. 2013, armed PKK militants returned to these bases where they had stored food and medicine, but there had been no activity detected in these areas until the weather conditions warmed.
The PKK has kept its presence in the eastern provinces of Tunceli, Hakkari, Şırnak, Diyarbakır, Bingöl, Van and Muş without any changes and has taken active roles in its organizations in the cities. The withdrawal took place among PKK militants based in the Black See region, central Anatolia and only some cities in eastern part of the country. The armed militants have become more active recently and kidnappings have increased in the region, according to the report.
Around 2,000 people recently joined the PKK and these new recruits returned to Turkey a short period after their withdrawal from the country. “Many of these people did not join armed attacks, but received political training on the other side of the border and returned Turkey under the repentance law. These people are participating in political activities for the organization in Turkey,” said the report.