Sunday 2 December 2012 - 10:27

Turkey says PKK has over 1,000 children in northern Iraq camps

Story Code : 217159
Members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party
Members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party
The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet quoted Sahin as saying in Ankara on Friday that the separatist organization “aims to cover its loss of members by recruiting children.”

“I cannot give an exact number, but according to our estimations, over 1,000 children, who have no idea [of the PKK agenda], have been taken from the southeastern region.”

    The Turkish interior minister also stated that intelligence reports indicated the PKK was pressuring the 12,000 Turkish citizens who live in the UN-supervised Mahmur camps in northern Iraq to give up at least one of their children to join them. Sahin described the PKK move as “a clear sign” of its “brutality.”

The International Criminal Court says that conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 or using them to participate in combat missions is a war crime.

The United Nations convention on child rights urges world states to ensure that people under 18 are not recruited or used in fighting.

Meanwhile, Turkish fighter jets pounded suspected PKK positions in northern Iraq late on Friday.

Some main roads in the region were also targeted in the aerial operation. The number of possible fatalities and casualties remains unknown.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead.