PKK to raise power in Germany, report says

PKK to raise power in Germany, report says

Uğur Erdan ANKARA - Hürriyet
PKK to raise power in Germany, report says

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan adress the media during a news conference after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany Nov. 2, when Erdoğan complained about the presence of the outlawed PKK in Germany which is also mentioned in a recent report. AP photo

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is likely to increase the size of its support network in Germany in the coming years, according to a recent report authored by a German foundation.

An estimated 11,500 people in Germany are already believed to provide the group with millions of euros in support every year, but the number is expected to rise, according to a recent report from the Institute to Protect the Federal Constitution.

“A significant financial source for the PKK consists of the donations collected from sympathizers in Europe, particularly in Germany. The revenues of the annual Kurdistan festival while sales of books [and other items] also provide significant contributions to the PKK,” said the report.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan noted the report’s findings when he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week and asked the German leader to lend greater support to Turkey’s war on terror.

The PKK is the largest non-Islamist terror organization in Germany, the report said, adding that all its activities were banned on Nov. 22, 1993, in the federal republic. Recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the United States, the PKK was also added to the European Union’s terror list in 2002.

‘PKK has a finance office’ 

The report said the PKK had a finance and economy bureau in Germany to facilitate the transfer of money from to the organization for its 30-year-long fight against Turkey.

Because the organization is banned from engaging in activities under the name of the PKK, the group operates under aliases such as the Federation of Kurdish Associations in Germany (YEK-KOM).

YEK-KOM gives open support to the PKK’s fight against the Turkish army, said the report.

Other organizations, such as Komalen Ciwan and the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) are also working under different names to increase the number of young PKK sympathizers.

The report also said some of these young people were sent to northern Iraq to receive training from PKK militants. Komalen Ciwan also organized a festival on July 10, 2010, in Cologne that attracted 5,000 sympathizers.

In Europe, the PKK presents itself differently than in Turkey, the institute said.

“The organization depicts itself as an unarmed group searching for its rights through the democratic means,” the report said.

“However, it shows its real face by failing to commit to its cease-fire declarations and by fighting against Turkey along the country’s border with Iraq,” the report alleged.