Five million packets of smuggled cigarettes seized in Turkey’s southeast
HAKKARİ – Anadolu Agency
AA photoFive million packets of smuggled cigarettes were found by gendarmerie teams during operations in the far southeastern province of Hakkari on May 23.
The contraband cigarettes were found during raids conducted in the villages of Onbaşılar, Çobanpınar and Armutlu in the Yüksekova district and the village of Bozyamaş in the Şemdinli district of Hakkari.
Four individuals suspected of smuggling the cigarettes were been detained, in operations targeting the financial sources of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The smugglers reportedly provided financial support to the group, with PKK militants levying “taxes” on smugglers carrying out these illegal activities on Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Iran.
A total of 385.8 million packets of smuggled cigarettes have been seized in operations conducted by the Turkish authorities since 2013, while 3,145 suspects have been arrested.
According to Ayhan Ertuğrul, the chief of the Diyarbakır organized crimes bureau, smuggled cigarettes are the PKK’s largest source of financial support.