"Let me stress that the [PKK] fighters in the mountains see that
their way is a dead end," Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay said.
On Oct. 20, the first group of PKK insurgents defected and surrendered
to Turkish authorities. The so-called peace group crossed from Iraq into
Turkey, and within hours was released by authorities.
"We expect this to continue," Atalay said. "We expect 100 or 150 people
to return in small groups."
Atalay did not provide a timetable for the expected surrender. But he
said an increasing number of PKK insurgents have reached the conclusion that
they were no longer safe in northern Iraq from Turkish military operations.
"We are working on their leaders," Atalay said.
Officials said the PKK has been racked by divisions, with hundreds of
fighters defecting in 2009. They said the PKK leadership has taken draconian
measures to prevent unauthorized leaves from bases. About 3,000 PKK fighters
were said to be deployed in the Kandil mountains.
For its part, the PKK denied that its fighters were surrendering to
Ankara. A senior Kurdish commander said the group that arrived in Turkey was
actually sent by the PKK leadership to discuss a ceasefire.
"How could they [PKK fighters] come down from the mountains if the
mentality does not change in Turkey, if the Kurdish will and identity is not
accepted and if Kurds are unable to organize and express themselves?" PKK
commander Cemil Bayik said.