Army urges PKK militants to surrender / PHOTO

The Turkish military, massed in increasing numbers for a possible assault on PKK militants in Iraq, has begun dropping leaflets urging them to surrender and "be welcomed with love," an official said Tuesday.

Army urges PKK militants to surrender / PHOTO

In recent weeks, Turkey has moved more soldiers and artillery units to the border with Iraq for a possible cross-border offensive against PKK bases.

At the same time, with an amnesty in effect, army helicopters have dropped thousands of leaflets on mountain paths used by the PKK to infiltrate Turkey, a government official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He did not say when the campaign began.

"Make your decision and leave the organization. Go to the nearest military unit or police station. You will be welcomed with love," said one leaflet found by a villager on a mountain path near the border town of Cukurca, the private Dogan news agency reported Tuesday.

The amnesty program has existed for 17 years but has failed to lure most militants into giving up. The announcement of the new campaign coincided with the 29th anniversary of the founding of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

The leaflet, bearing a photograph of a militant and a smiling Turkish commando, promised amnesty for militants who have voluntarily left the group and are not engaged in fighting. Militant leaders who share critical information about the group also qualify for the amnesty.

The leaflets were dropped from military helicopters taking off from a base near Cukurca, where the borders of Iran, Iraq and Turkey converge, Dogan reported.

In another leaflet, the news agency reported, the telephone numbers of police and paramilitary police were listed, along with a slogan: "The road to freedom is very close."

Public pressure on the government to attack PKK bases in northern Iraq has built up as militant attacks have increased.

Washington has agreed to share intelligence about PKK positions in the region. And the Iraqi Kurdish administration in northern Iraq has promised to prevent the militants from attacking Turkey.

But Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said in the U.S. that Iraqi Kurdish authorities have not taken any "satisfactory measures" against the PKK so far, the state-run Anatolia news agency said Tuesday.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Kasım 2007, 10:12