Istanbul: Turkish authorities will offer up to 4 million lira (US $1.37 million) in rewards for those who help a crackdown on “terrorists”, according to a new ruling published on Monday.
The decision comes after a surge in violence in the southeast between Turkish security forces and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Kurdish militants which has nullified a 2013 truce.
Under the government’s plan, informants’ rewards will be based on the “value of the information in preventing terrorism crimes and catching the suspects,” said a statement in the official gazette, where all new legislation and government rulings are published.
Those who report the identity or location of a “suspected terrorist” anonymously will be awarded up to 200,000 Turkish lira (USD 68,000) as long as they as they are not involved in the “terrorism activity” that they report, it added.
But the award will be multiplied by 20 and increased to 4 million lira if the suspect is the leader of a “terrorist organisation” or the crime that is exposed is severe enough to cause “unrest”. The informant does not have to be a Turkish citizen to be eligible for the award, the statement said.
Ankara in late July launched a dual anti-terror offensive against IS militants in Syria and the PKK in northern Iraq and southeast Turkey following a series of deadly attacks. Some 60 members of the Turkish security forces have been killed over the past five weeks as the PKK has hit back at a relentless government air and ground campaign.
According to the government, more than 2,500 people have so far been detained in raids targeting suspected members of the PKK, Islamic State (IS) jihadists and DHKP-C Marxist militants, the overwhelming majority of them from the PKK.
The Turkish authorities in the past have offered similar payouts for information on terrorism crimes and suspects, but the new reward system appears to offer the biggest such yet in Turkey’s self declared “anti-terror” campaign.