Police launch raid against PKK’s drug sources
DİYARBAKIR - Doğan News Agency
Law enforcement teams launched a major anti-drugs operation yesterday morning around Diyarbakır, dealing a major blow to what Diyarbakır Gov. Mustafa Toprak said was a significant source of finances for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Security personnel numbering 1,700 in total, including 55 gendarmerie and police department special operations teams, as well as village guards on temporary duty, took part in the operation, which kicked off at 4 a.m. in the Lice, Hazro and Kocaköy districts of the southeastern province. Four helicopters and 16 armored vehicles were also used in the operation.
The drug operation was staged to strike a major blow at the PKK’s financial resources and “paramilitary terrorist activities,” Toprak said, adding that the areas where drugs were cultivated and produced were also targeted in the operation.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has accused the group of maintaining a drug-trafficking network across Europe that helps fund the group, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union.
All of the security units in Diyarbakır participated in the operation, which was conducted over an area of 50 square kilometers and was directed against PKK members who provide connections between drug cultivators and the market, Toprak said.
“Thirty-one Gendarmerie Special Operations and Commando teams, seven Police Special Operations Team, 17 operation teams of rural guards on temporary duty, officials from the narcotics, smuggling, security, terrorism and intelligence divisions of the provincial gendarmerie command and provincial police department, related personnel from the district gendarmerie command, and drug units formed to destroy cannabis fields took part in the operation. With the coordination of the Diyarbakır Gendarmerie Command, the operation was staged in an area where terrorism prevails,” Toprak said.
Two of the gendarmerie’s Sikorsky helicopters, two police department’s Sikorsky helicopters, 10 gendarmerie armored vehicles, six police armored vehicles and other armored vehicles also supported the operation, the governor said.
The United States last year slapped drug-trafficking sanctions on several leaders of the PKK.