PKK uses Europe as logistics base: Europol report
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is believed to be using European countries as bases for logistics and procurement of weapons and recruitment, the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol stated on June 20.
The “Ethno-Nationalist and Separatist Terrorism” section of the Europol’s 2018 report on terrorism also affirmed that there is a process of militant recruitment and attempt to indoctrinate diaspora Kurds in scattered centers in Europe.
“The PKK is believed to use Europe as a base for logistics and procurement of weapons and recruitment, and transporting the conflict into the Kurdish diaspora. France reported the process of recruitment of militants through the Organization Komalen Ciwan [Kurdish Youth Organization]. Kurdish youngsters residing in France are lured to join the organization. Subsequently, they are sent to indoctrination camps scattered in Europe, far from their families and under the influence of PKK senior ranks. Finally they are trained in combat techniques in military camps in Armenia, Iran and Iraq,” said the report.
“However, France estimates that only dozens of Kurdish fighters are recruited annually in Europe,” it added.
The report also referred to assessments of the Turkish authorities indicating that the PKK “generates income from many different types of crimes including drug trafficking, migrant smuggling, human trafficking, fuel and cigarette smuggling, extortion, kidnapping and money laundering.”
“Austria, France, Romania and Switzerland reported activities of the annual campaign to finance the PKK and its armed branch Hêzên Parastina Gel [HPG – People’s Defence Force]. Most funds appear to come from voluntary donations obtained, in some cases, under intimidation. France reports an estimate of 6 million euro proceeds. In November 2017, eight PKK militants were convicted of terrorist financing,” the report said.
“The PKK is known to systematically and, if need be, forcibly collect funds in the EU to finance its activities. The organization also uses front organizations and charities in the EU for this purpose and is suspected of being involved in criminal activities to supplement its income to cover expenses in Turkey, the Middle East and Europe,” it added.
The conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state has left more than 40,000 people dead over the past three decades. The PKK has been listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
Attacks in the EU
Regarding terrorist attacks carried out in the EU, the report said: “Most terrorist attacks carried out in the EU in 2017 were specified as separatist attacks.”
“The completed separatist attacks were aimed at businesses and critical infrastructure, but also at civilians and the military. A total of 30 individuals were arrested in Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Austria,” it added.
“France counted 42 attacks, Spain experienced seven attacks. There were 88 security-related incidents in Northern Ireland, of which 58 were shootings and 30 were bombing incidents,” it read.
Regarding the foiled, failed and completed terrorist attacks, the report said the U.K. experienced the highest number of attacks with 107, followed by France, Spain, Italy, and Greece with 54, 16, 14, and eight attacks respectively.
“Belgium and Germany reported two attacks each; Finland and Sweden noted one attack each,” it said.