The Turkish government has said that the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terror group has a yearly income of 400-500 million euros (up to $750 million) obtained from drug dealing, human trafficking, smuggling and donations.
Speaking on the second day of an international conference on terrorism organized by the Turkish military at the Centre of Excellence -- Defense against Terrorism (COE-DAT) in Ankara on March 10 and 11, Saygun said: “It is obvious that the PKK is a terrorist organization and, with its mafia-like structure, it is also an organized criminal organization. This fact has been proven by several international reports. The terrorists’ organization obtains its income mainly from drug dealing, in addition to arms smuggling, money laundering, racketeering and other illegal means.”Not just terrorists responsible for over 60,000 deaths but a massive criminal organistation which has done untold damage to lives throughout the Middle east and Europe. Yet the Bush administration has consistently soft-stepped and fence sat when it comes to the PKK, willing to trade their presence and activities for a quiet Kurdish North in Iraq these last five years.
He said the PKK obtains 200-250 million euros from drug dealing, 100-150 million from its various smuggling activities and 15-20 million from donations.
Saygun indicated that the PKK provides arms not only to its members but also to the terrorists of other organizations. He said this shows how the PKK has become an international criminal organization and that it underlines the need to fight the PKK’s crimes internationally. “The mentality that supports the terrorist organization should not forget that this organization controls 80 percent of the drug dealing in Europe and poisons the European public.”
At the conference Saygun said reports from the UN and other esteemed international organizations indicate that the PKK kidnaps children -- including girls -- in Europe to give them training in arms and ideology.
He complained that even though Turkey has been sensitive to make a distinction among groups and not to label everybody terrorists, some Europeans do not show the same understanding. “Some in Europe wrongly identify everybody of Kurdish origin with the PKK,” he said.
Speaking about the harm caused by terrorist organizations in general, Saygun said: “Terrorist organizations claim they represent ethnic groups or great belief groups. So they carry out their activities in the name of the ideologies of Islam, people’s independence, minority rights, Jihad, democratic rights and freedoms, thereby seeking legitimacy for their activities. We should not fall into this trap.”
One offshoot of this group - the PJK - is one that rightwing American extremists like Ken Timmerman cozy up to simply because it is seen as fighting the current Iranian regime. Timmerman isn't just the reporter who wrote a puff piece on the PJK, he's also executive director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, which he founded with neocon Bush administration insider Peter Rodeman.
But both Bush administration and neocons alike should be careful about their allies. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" may well be the way the Right like to run foreign policy but it's just as true that "if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas."