PKK has earned annual average of $500 million from drug trade since 1980: Ministry
ANKARAThe outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has earned an average of $500 million per year from the illegal drug trade since 1980, the Interior Ministry said in a report issued on March 14, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
The report noted that drug trafficking provided the PKK’s main source of funding, particularly the cultivation of cannabis in Turkey’s east and southeast.
Some 1,376 suspects have been arrested for involvement in the drug trade over the past 37 years, the report stated, adding that tens of thousands of tons of drugs were seized, including 62,654 tons of cannabis, 5,452 tons of heroin, and 4,314 tons of morphine base.
Police also seized 71,200 kilograms of opium, 952 kilograms of cocaine, more than 870,000 amphetamine-based pills, and over 88 million cannabis plants.
Earlier, a narcoterrorism report prepared by the Interior Ministry suggested that the outlawed PKK earned nearly $1.7 billion each year through its involvement in the production and trading of cannabis as well as drug smuggling, Anadolu Agency reported on June 26, 2016.
The PKK earned 500 million Turkish Liras (around $170 million) per year via the production and trading of cannabis, said the report 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.