US names 3 as keys in PKK

US names 3 as keys in PKK

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
US names 3 as keys in PKK

PKK supporters clash with the police in southeastern Turkey. DHA photo

The U.S. named three Moldova-based men Feb. 1 as key figures in the alleged drug network of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and set economic sanctions against them.

The U.S. Treasury labelled Zeyneddin Geleri, Çerkez Akbulut and Ömer Boztepe as “specially designated narcotics traffickers” for their roles in the PKK’s European network for producing and distributing heroin and marijuana. Also hit with the sanctions, which ban any American or American entity from doing any business with them, were Ömer Geleri and three Romania-based companies, due to their ties with Zeyneddin Geleri.

The PKK has long been officially designated by Washington as both a terrorist and drug trafficking organization. The Treasury said Zeyneddin Geleri is a “high ranking member” of the PKK as well as a member of a Romania-based drug trafficking group. Akbulut, also known as Cernit Murat, is linked to 199 kilograms of heroin seized in March 2008 by Moldovan police, and is “responsible for the collection of funds” in Moldova for the PKK, the Treasury said.

Boztepe is a fugitive from Moldovan authorities after having been sentenced to 12 years in jail for drug trafficking. Naming the individuals as traffickers and placing sanctions on them “highlights the important role that international drug trafficking plays in terrorist financing across the globe,” said Treasury official Adam Szubin in a statement. It “should serve as a warning to those involved in illicit activities that threaten the national security of the U.S. and its allies,” he said.

Under the sanctions U.S. citizens and businesses are prohibited from financial or commercial transactions with those named; any assets of the designees in the U.S. are also automatically frozen.

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