TURKEY - The terrorist Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) and its armed wing, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), earn $50-100 million annually from heroin smuggling while also maintaining a monopoly over weapon smuggling, protection rackets and migrant smuggling in the southeastern region of Turkey, a NATO report reveals.
The report, drafted by NATO intelligence analyzers, highlights the fact that the PKK encourages locals to cultivate cannabis plants. Furthermore, although the National Police Department's Financial Crimes Unit conducted 3,365 operations between January and April of 2013, as a result of which 8,524 people were detained, the report indicates that those who cultivate illegal plants without the consent of the PKK are punished by the terrorist group itself.
Between May and September of last year, 47,893,665 cannabis plants, 13,309 kilograms of high-quality cannabis and 25,605 kilograms of powdered cannabis were seized in 196 narcotics operations by the police. PKK militants attacked the units during the operations in order to prevent the plants from being exterminated.
Drawing attention to the large quantity of heroin smuggled by the terrorist organization, a report titled “Alcohol and substance addiction research” released by the National Police Department emphasizes that the heroin smuggling comes as a result of the ongoing turmoil in the region. The smugglers delivered a large quantity of heroin to the region -- widely suspected to be a significant chain in the Asia-Europe drug route -- last week, in particular on Feb. 15, March 8, April 4 and Aug. 15, when the PKK and the KCK intensified their illegal activities, the report suggested.
Following operations by the Turkish military against illegal planting in the region, 32 villages of the Lice district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, five villages in Hazro district, three villages in Kocaköy district and two villages in Hani district were singled out as the most common locations of illegal planting in the region.
Furthermore, the KCK and PKK are not only selling narcotics to Western Turkish cities but also to the Kurdish children whose rights it claims to defend. According to data from the narcotics police, the average age for starting drug use in the region has fallen significantly in recent years.
In Van and Hakkari, the average age is 14, down from 15 just two years ago. An estimated 45 percent of the people in this age group have used illegal substances. This average is estimated to be 60 percent in districts near Hakkari and 30 percent among young people in Hakkari itself. Another survey, conducted by the Police Academy's International Center for Terrorism and Transnational Crime (UTSAM), has revealed that most people who join the PKK are aged between 15 and 21 and financial reasons play a large role in their participation in the PKK.
“The socioeconomic situation of the region [the southeast] is far from meeting the needs of a rapidly growing population. This leads to generations growing up without any hope in life and expecting nothing from the future. In some cases, a family with 10 or 15 children allows one of their children to turn to smuggling and they support themselves with the money earned by that family member. A family member's having a relationship with the PKK [due to smuggling] makes the entire family have a relationship with the PKK. In a sense, this situation keeps the PKK message updated in that family,” the survey said in its conclusion.
Today's Zamin / August 20, 2014
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