PKK earns $1.7 billion in drug trade: Ministry report
ANKARA – Anadolu AgencyA narcoterrorism report prepared by Turkey’s Interior Ministry suggests that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) earns nearly $1.7 billion each year through its involvement in the production and trading of cannabis, in addition to drug smuggling.
The PKK earns some 500 million Turkish Liras (around $170 million) per year via the production and trading of cannabis, said the report, which sheds light on narcoterrorism operations, adding that $1.5 billion was raised annually through drug smuggling.
Drug smuggling constitutes a major component of the financing of militant organizations including the PKK, the report stressed, highlighting that 381 narcotic operations involving terror groups were conducted between 1984 and 2015.
A total 1,283 suspects were apprehended in the operations while six drug manufacturing facilities were discovered.
Moreover, a total 5,543 kilograms of heroin, 41,149 kilograms of marijuana, 710 kilograms of cocaine, 21 kilograms of opium and over 17 million cannabis plants were seized in operations.
The reports also cited international security literature and said the PKK was one of the four militant organizations across the world which earned most of its income from drug smuggling. The other three organizations were named as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Islamist Movement of Uzbekistan.
According to the report, the PKK produces heroin in its camps in northern Iraq while it collects money from villages in Iran and Iraq for each kilogram of heroin they produce.
The ministry also alleges that the PKK transports drugs produced in northern Iraq to Europe, where members of the militant organization play a role in the distribution of the drugs.
Two soldiers killed in Diyarbakır
Meanwhile, two Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack carried out by the PKK in the Lice district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on June 26.
The soldiers were wounded during security operations conducted in rural Lice. They were taken to hospital, but succumbed to their wounds at around 9:45 a.m.
In a separate operation on June 24, around 10 tons of ammonium nitrate used in building explosives were seized in Lice.
Some 23 sacks, or a total 1,150 kilograms, of ammonium nitrate was found in two different locations near the Hamzabey field of Lice’s Sağlık village, the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office announced June 25.
Another 177 sacks of the chemical, a total of 8,850 kilograms, were found in three different locations near the district’s Çağdaş village, the statement added.
A field full of some 240,000 cannabis plants allegedly planted by PKK militants and two hand-made explosives were recently found and destroyed in the ongoing operation in Lice, according to the Turkish Armed Forces.
An aerial operation was also conducted against PKK targets in the eastern province of Hakkari on June 25.
Three PKK militants were killed as a result of air strikes conducted in the province’s Şemdinli district between 9:02 p.m. and 9:31 p.m., the Turkish Armed Forces said in a statement on June 26.
An anti-aircraft weapon belonging to the militants was also destroyed in the air operation, according to the statement.
Turkish warplanes also carried out air strikes in other southeastern Turkish provinces on June 24.