An Interior Ministry report on “narco-terrorism” reveals that the PKK terrorist group earns $500 million every year from illicit cannabis cultivation, in addition to profiting from the sale of narcotics.
The PKK, which has waged a violent campaign against Turkey since the early 1980s, is blamed for thousands of deaths in the past three decades, including the killings of security personnel and civilians targeted in armed attacks and bombings. The group, which wields influence in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey through intimidation, is concentrated in areas near Turkey’s border with Syria and Iraq and has hideouts in northern Iraq.
The report says the PKK draws its main revenues from the illicit drug trade and details 427 “narco-terrorism” operations between 1980 and 2017. It says 1,376 suspects involved in drug trafficking and production were captured between those years, along with tons of hashish, millions of cannabis plants and lesser amounts of synthetic drugs, like cocaine.
It says the terrorist group’s drug trafficking and production activities have long managed to evade detection and it profited from heroin trafficked into Europe from Afghanistan. The terrorist group earned about $100 million every year for helping transport Afghan drugs. The PKK’s presence in the mountainous areas near the Turkish borders and its broad base of supporters in Europe facilitates the traffic, according to experts.
The PKK also produces heroin in laboratories in its camps in northern Iraq and sells it in Europe through its supporters on the continent, according to officials.
The Interior Ministry report says terrorist groups usually employ those not ideologically linked to them and drug producers use the power the terrorists wield to boost their gains. Terrorists in return get their share in trafficking and benefit from money laundering schemes. The report says the PKK also tried to hide its revenues from drugs from militants in lower ranks as it violates the the terrorist group’s ideological guidelines.