Europe still a base for PKK, security body says

Europe still a base for PKK, security body says

Europe still a base for PKK, security body says

Turkish forces launch a new operation against outlawed militants in southeast. REUTERS photo

Europe remains a logistical support base for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the European Police Office (EUROPOL) has warned in its latest report.

“Although the number of individuals arrested linked to the PKK is decreasing, Europe remains a logistical support base for funding, recruitment, training and propaganda,” EUROPOL said in its EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2012, which was made public April 25. “To fulfill these logistical activities, the PKK has a network of recruiters across Europe, which could be a cause of concern.”

In 2011, individuals were arrested for membership in the PKK or for extending illicit support to the PKK in France, Germany and Romania. The majority of the suspects arrested were involved in fundraising for terrorist operations in Turkey and for the maintenance of PKK camps in northern Iraq, according to EUROPOL.

“Some of the funds collected are believed to be used to sponsor EU-based propaganda centers and training camps,” the report said. “Extortion, money laundering, facilitating illegal immigration, drugs and human trafficking remain the main crimes committed by PKK members in Europe, as well as their main profit generators.”

The report said the PKK committed several terrorist attacks in Turkey in 2011. “However, the total number of attacks committed on Turkish soil has decreased.”

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
Some changes in the group’s modus operandi have been observed, according to EUROPOL, for example through the kidnapping of teachers, targeting of schools and hijacking of public transport.

Terrorist organizations raise funds through multiple global criminal enterprises in and outside the EU, the report said, noting the suspected involvement of the PKK in narcotics trafficking to fund and support terrorist activities.

“In 2011, the total number of terrorist attacks and terrorism-related arrests in the EU continued to decrease,” said Rob Wainwright, director of EUROPOL. “This is a welcome development, but terrorism and violent extremism still represent a significant threat, and we must remain vigilant. Sadly 77 people in Norway and another two in Germany were killed in 2011 by ‘lone actors.’ Looking ahead, lone actors will continue to pose a threat, whether inspired by political or religious extremism.”

The report also warned about the threat of right-wing extremism. “The threat of violent right-wing extremism has reached new levels in Europe and should not be underestimated,” EUROPOL said.