Walkout by 800 PKK militants enough, sources say

Walkout by 800 PKK militants enough, sources say

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Walkout by 800 PKK militants enough, sources say

Militants of the outlawed PKK at the Qandil mountains near the Iraq-Turkish border in Sulaimaniya, 330 km northeast of Baghdad March 24, 2013. REUTERS photo

Of the 1,500 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) inside Turkish borders, 800 need to leave Turkish land, according to a daily Milliyet report based on military and civil security sources. Nearly 300 of them work on the logistical needs of the organization and 400 of them have never been in armed conflict with the Turkish Army, it said.

The other 700 militants could be released after judicial process, since they did not commit a crime apart from being members of the PKK, sources said according to a daily Milliyet columnist and Ankara representative.

The same sources also backed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks on how PKK militants will leave Turkish borders without arms.

This will be a “test of sincerity,” they said, adding that the withdrawal must be without arms and without militant uniforms.

The provinces where PKK militants are present in Turkey are the southeastern provinces of Hakkari, Şırnak and Bingöl, Diyarbakır’s northern countryside and Tunceli’s countryside, sources said.

The outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), which recently increased its attacks, is also active in Tunceli, according to sources.

Militants of the outlawed PKK who withdraw from Turkey will have to lay down their arms before crossing the border, in order to prevent further confrontation, Erdoğan had said earlier. “No one will respond to people without arms,” Erdoğan said during a live interview with private broadcaster CNNTürk March 29.