Kurds return to Iraq from Turkey

ISTANBUL – Part of the group of PKK members and Kurdish-Turkish refugees from northern Iraq that returned to Turkey last year today started to move back to Iraq. This is according to the online version of the Turkish paper Radikal on Monday, based on reports from Kurdish news agency Firat.

The ‘peace group’, as they called themselves, returned to Turkey last year in October, on the orders of imprisoned PKK leader Öcalan, who wanted to show his support for the attempts of the Turkish government to solve the Kurdish question by democratic means. Members of the group would not be prosecuted if they hadn’t directly been involved in terrorist activities. At first they were indeed not prosecuted, but recently a few returnees are being sued anyway. They can get up to twenty years imprisonment for spreading propaganda for the PKK.

The return to Iraq is also said to be a protest against the heavy punishment that Kurdish children get who throw stones at the police during demonstrations in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.

How many of the group of 34 men, women and children are now returning to Iraq remains unclear.

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