New measures to cut PKK’s finances
ISTANBUL - HürriyetNew measures will be taken against the financing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a two-day summit held in Istanbul has concluded.
Officials from the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Terrorism Department, the Finance Ministry’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), judges and prosecutors from the Justice Ministry, as well as the heads of the anti-terrorism branch departments in 15 different provinces, attended the meeting to discuss ways to clamp down on the PKK’s financial sources.
The PKK makes around $120 million annually by extorting from business people who win state tender bids in the east and the southeast, officials concluded in the summit.The PKK receives a cut of 10 to 20 percent from business people who win state tenders in the east and the southeast, out of a total of $800 million worth of state bids offered in the region. The organization also stores $1 billion in foreign bank accounts, according to intelligence reports shared with the attendants at the meeting.
Certain municipalities provide significant levels of support for the organization, while the PKK also receives regular income flows some shopkeepers and public servants, said the reports. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as the United States and the European Union.
The attendants also agreed to implement stricter border controls to prevent smuggled goods, such as cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, diesel fuel and electronic wares, from entering the country. These activities provide some of the PKK’s main sources of income, according to reports.
Empowering judges and prosecutors to help them take faster and more effective action against the transfer of funds to the PKK is also among the measures to be implemented. Authorities are going to analyze the bank account movements of business venues identified to be willfully providing funds to the PKK, and even seize those accounts if needed.
Last year, the Turkish government had proposed a draft bill that aimed to prevent the financing of terrorism through bringing strict regulations, such as freezing the accounts of those funding terrorist organizations, as well as heavy penalties and fines. However, the three opposition parties in Turkey’s Parliament have united in their objection to the bill, arguing that it will grant the authorities excessive powers that could result in the violation of basic human rights.