PKK weakens as counterterrorism operations continue

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey
Published 08.06.2017 23:34

Amid the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) continuous anti-terror operations, the outlawed terrorist organization PKK is losing its influence on locals and has experienced a decrease in terms of new recruitment, claimed a recent detainee.

The PKK terrorist, captured in the eastern Turkey's Diyarbakır during a counterterror operations Wednesday, spoke of difficulties the terrorist organization faces, claiming it has gotten into a scrape, since the recent counterterror operations began.

The terrorist stated that he was deceived by the PKK while attending university. He claimed that the terrorist organization made false promises of making him a civil servant in Syria.

"They [the PKK] assured me that I would be an official in Syria," said the arrested militant, adding that although he desired to surrender many times, they threatened him with words like, "The soldier would beat and torture you if you surrendered."

He also claimed that number of new recruitments have fallen dramatically since the counterterror operations.

"A year ago there were sporadic cases of new recruits joining the terrorist group. But, now, there is none. It has been a year and there are no new participants. I've never seen anyone who is willing to join. They [the PKK] cannot deceive the youth anymore, the youth have gotten wiser," the terrorist said, indicating that the group tricks youth into joining.

"They told us that there would be freedom in the mountains and we were dreaming about it. However, when we got there, we realized that there is no such thing. It was not what they told us about before. They are so unscrupulous, so cutthroat. ...As you can see, I've become a terrorist. They put me in this situation," he said.

The terrorist also said that locals in the region have developed an attitude against the PKK, stating that they have lost their confidence on the organization and are constantly complain about it.

"Now, the people [in the region] do not want it, the state has gotten stronger and the group has run its course," he added.

Claiming that the PKK is earning a lot of money from illegal drug planting and trading, the militant said, "Because of counterterror operations, the PKK could not plant cannabis this year and lost one of its main sources of income."

The TSK continued its counterterrorism operations against the PKK throughout the spring. According to the Interior Ministry, the Turkish military killed at least 274 PKK terrorists in May, while the number of people joining its ranks in the first four months of 2017 dropped by almost 90 percent, compared to the same period last year.

The Turkish military has been carrying out operations in the Kato Mountains in southeastern Turkey's Şırnak. The mountains used to be a safe haven for the PKK but the group was dealt a heavy blow there since operations began around two months ago.

Recently, the TSK seized the largest-ever PKK weapons haul during a counterterror operation in the İncebel Mountains, also located in Şırnak.

Founded in 1978, the PKK has waged a decades-long bloody campaign against Turkey. The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, broke the ceasefire unilaterally and resumed its armed campaign in July 2015, after a brief reconciliation period.

Since then, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of some 1,200 security personnel and civilians, including women and children, while more than 4,000 security personnel and over 2,000 civilians have been injured.

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