More PKK militants to surrender: Turkish interior minister
Turkey's Interior Minister Besir Atalay said Tuesday more members of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) would surrender as the country continues its initiative to solve the Kurdish issue by giving the minority more freedom and rights, Turkish media reported.
The government expected around 150 PKK members to surrender to Turkish security forces in small groups in the initial stages of the "returning home" process, the semi-official Anatolia news agency quoted Atalay as telling reporters in the capital city Ankara, Xinhua reported.
He said the process would continue, noting the Kurdish initiative proposed by the government would "face difficulties if weapons are not given up, terror does not end and violence continues."
On Monday, eight militants from a PKK training camp in Mount Qandil of Iraq surrendered to the Turkish security forces at the Habur border gate between Turkey and Iraq.
Another 26 from Makhmour, a refugee camp in northern Iraq which Ankara claims serves as a safe haven for the PKK, also surrendered to authorities.
Twenty-nine of those who surrendered on Monday had been released while interrogation of the remaining five continued, Anatolia reported earlier Tuesday.
The surrender came after the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan urged the PKK last week to send what he described as "peace groups " to surrender to the Turkish authorities.
Ocalan, who is serving life imprisonment on a Turkish island, said in July he would release a "road map" for a solution to the Kurdish problem.
The Turkish government announced later in the same month that it would reveal a package plan to solve the Kurdish issue by improving democratic rights of the Kurdish group to win over its Kurdish citizens and erode support for the PKK.
Established in 1978, the PKK took up arms in 1984 to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Its separatist campaign has fuelled conflicts that have killed some 40,000 people in the country.
It is estimated that there are a total of 5,000 PKK militants, the majority of whom are holed up in northern Iraq where the PKK headquarters is situated.