Ongoing civil war in Syria increases recruits for terrorist PKK

25 July 2013 /FAZLI MERT, İSTANBUL – Zaman – A Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist who recently surrendered to Turkish security forces has said that the ongoing civil war in Syria boosted the number of Syrians joining the PKK.

H.G., who joined the PKK on Dec. 7, 2011, recently deserted a PKK camp in northern Iraq and surrendered to Turkish security forces. H.G. said s/he wants to take advantage of the active repentance law, Article 221 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which stipulates the release without punishment of members of terrorist organizations who turn themselves in as long as they have not been involved in any armed clashes with security forces or attacks on civilians. During questioning, H.G. said the war in Syria has increased the influence of the PKK organization in Syria, adding that Syrians constitute the largest number of new PKK recruits.

Regarding new members joining the PKK from Turkey, H.G. also said that the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) youth branches and pro-PKK TV channels organize that activity.

Telling his/her story of joining the PKK, H.G. said s/he started to participate in the events organized by the BDP in his/her first year of high school, saying: “I began to sympathize with the PKK during the meetings of the BDP youth branches. I regularly attended the press conferences and demonstrations organized by the BDP. I made many friends at those demonstrations. Some of those friends threw Molotov cocktails and other bombs at the police during demonstrations. I attended such demonstrations for eight months and I was detained by the police two times during that period. In both cases, I was released by the court. My family pressured me not to go to such demonstrations anymore and that was why I stayed away for a while. One day a friend named Sorej told me: ‘The police are looking for you everywhere. They will take you to prison when they capture you. You should go to the mountains and join the PKK as soon as possible.’ After that, I decided to join the PKK.”

Revealing some details about the terrorist organization, H.G. also said that although Sofi Nurettin was appointed as the new head of the People’s Defense Forces (HPG), the so-called military wing of the organization, former HPG head Feyman Hüseyin, codenamed Bahoz Erdal, is still the actual leader of the HPG.

Stating that there are many other PKK members who also want to benefit from the active repentance law, H.G. said the number of members who want to leave the PKK increases after each cross-border Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) operation against PKK camps in northern Iraq.