World Bulletin/News Desk
A group of nine Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members surrendered to Turkish security forces in the Silopi district of the southeastern province of Şırnak on Wednesday.
The group had reportedly escaped the organization's camps in northern Iraq and traveled to the Habur Border Gate near Silopi to surrender. All nine people were taken to the Silopi Police Department to be interrogated by counterterrorism units.
Wednesday's surrender runs contrary to the current trend, with some 2,000 people having reportedly joined the PKK over the past four months amidst the settlement process to Turkey’s long-standing conflict between the PKK and state.
About 850 out of the 2,000 who have joined are university students. Most of them have been sent to northern Iraq, where PKK forces are based, through the southeastern Turkish provinces of Mardin and Şırnak.
In a bid to resolve the country's decades-old conflict, at the end of last year the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government launched negotiations with PKK head Abdullah Öcalan, who is incarcerated in a prison on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara.
Öcalan, who despite his 14 years in prison still wields enormous clout over PKK members as well as millions of nationalist Kurds in Turkey, called on PKK members to lay down their arms and leave Turkey in a message in March.
The PKK says it has half of its 7,000 members in Turkey and the other half in northern Iraq, where it maintains its primary camps in remote, nearly impassable mountains. The Turkish government estimates the total number to be lower than 7,000.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Turkey and the PKK since it took up arms against the state in 1984 with the aim of carving out an ethnic homeland in the Southeast.Last Mod: 07 Ağustos 2013, 14:27