France, Spain arrest 23 allegedly linked to PKK
BORDEAUX / MADRID
EPA photo /IAN LANGSDONSeventeen Kurds have been arrested in southwestern France in an anti-terror probe into extortion rackets used to raise funds for the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), legal sources said Tuesday, while six people were detained in a similar operation in Spain.
The people arrested in the French cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse are suspected of being senior figures within the regional structure of the organisation, the sources said.
The arrests came as German federal prosecutors on Tuesday pressed charges against a 46-year-old Turkish man suspected of raising money for the PKK throughout Europe.
The PKK, which took up arms in its campaign for autonomy in southeast Turkey in 1984, is branded a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies. More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have in the conflict.
Three Kurdish women activists were shot dead in Paris last month. The driver of one of the women has been charged with their murder.
The killings came against a background of tentative peace talks between Turkey and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.
The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. Turkey’s long fight with the PKK has claimed the lives of more than 35,000 people since 1984.
Spain launches “Cappadocia operation”
Six more people linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been arrested in Spain, according to the Spanish Ministry of Interior.
Spanish authorities announced they had organized 11 raids in Madrid, Barcelona and the coastal town of Murcia in the southeastern part of the country on Feb. 12 as part of an ongoing operation called “Cappadocia.”
"National police officers have broken up the financing and extorsion system of the Kurdish terrorist organisation PKK in Spain," the interior ministry announced in a statement. Two weapons and 28,000 euros of cash were confiscated during the raids.