Turkish Minister Sahin slams Iran for providing support to PKK
Turkey's security czar has accused neighboring Iran of sheltering members of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in its territory while providing militants free rein to operate against Turkey from Iran without restriction. "Recently, it has been witnessed that the terrorist organization has intensified its campaign through Iran, and Iran has not been paying much attention to security measures, especially in border areas [to thwart their movements]," Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin has said. Sahin explained that the PKK and its umbrella organization, the Kurdistan Communities' Union (KCK), are using Iran as a base for sanctuary and as a site for transit, training and indoctrination, recruitment, fund-raising and the supply of arms and munitions. He noted that PKK terrorists are operating in Iranian territory with much ease in sharp contrast to the past, stressing that they are not facing any problems whatsoever in finding safe haven, obtaining logistical support and using Iranian soil as a transit route to Turkey. "Reports have been received stating that members of the terrorist organization are using vacated Iranian military posts," Sahin stated. The minister also noted that the PKK/KCK is increasingly using Iran to evade sweeping operations by Turkish security forces and aerial bombardment of PKK hideouts in northern Iraq. Sahin revealed that the government estimates some 400 armed militants in the PKK who are operating in Turkey were not born here but in fact came from Syria, Iran and Iraq. Talking about the financing of the terror organization, Interior Minister Sahin said the PKK raises funds in European countries as well as earning money from extortion from legitimate businesses and illegal activities like drug smuggling in border areas in the southeast of Turkey. "The organization receives some 20 million euros annually in fundraising campaigns across Europe," he said, adding that the money was used to purchase arms and explosives in Iraq and Syria, where there is a power vacuum. The Turkish minister also lambasted Germany for being uncooperative in the extradition of wanted PKK terrorists living in Germany. "Generally, Germany leads the list of countries that refuse to extradite wanted people to Turkey for terror-related charges, followed by Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands," Sahin said, providing statistical data on the top five jurisdictions that are uncooperative and unresponsive to Turkey's demands.