Turkish Planes Blast Kurd Rebels In Iraq

Turkish planes carried out the first air attacks on Kurdish rebels based in the mountainous regions of Iraq. After the bombing, Turkish artillery opened fire on the area which had just been bombed. According to local Iraq officials, about ten villages were bombed and several civilians killed or wounded. They claim Kurdish rebels were miles away from the target. Turkish planes also dropped leaflets urging members of the Kurdish Workers Party(PKK) to surrender and seek an amnesty. An amnesty law was adopted in 2003 under Article 221 of the penal code which promises no punishment to Kurds who surrender provided they did not take part in military action against Turkish forces. An intelligence officer told the Turkish newspaper, Zaman, that among those who surrendered about one-third were Kurds who simply hoped they could get a better job by pretending to fit the qualification for amnesty.

Bombing villages in mountainous areas rarely leads to anything other than fostering hatred among innocent civilians. This policy has never worked and certainly has proved ineffective in Afghanistan. The concept of an amnesty makes sense, but it must include those who did take part in military action. To only grant amnesty to people who were not involved in armed attacks will not result in encouraging militants to surrender. There also has to be an active program of providing jobs and other benefits if Turkey is to get those in the mountains to come down and become active participants in ordinary life.