Dutch accuse PKK of extortion
20 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — Dutch prosecutors have accused a Kurdish separatist group, PKK, of using extortion and threats to raise money for its activities.
20 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — Dutch prosecutors have accused a Kurdish separatist group, PKK, of using extortion and threats to raise money for its activities.
Police arrested three people in The Hague, Rotterdam and in Germany this week as part of an investigation into the PKK's fundraising activities, it was reported on Thursday.
Last November, Dutch police arrested 29 people during a raid on what they said was a PKK training camp in Liempde in the south of the Netherlands.
Two weeks earlier, police arrested three people at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, at least one of whom is alleged to have undergone training at the camp.
But the Dutch investigation into the PKK had been launched long before the arrests were made, a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office said.
Numbering 25 million people, the Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a country of their own.
They say their unofficial national-state encompasses parts of Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. While Kurds enjoy significant power in northern Iraq, none of the four countries acknowledge greater Kurdistan as an antonymous region or state.
The Marxist-Leninist Kurdish Worker's Party, or PKK, launched an insurgency against Turkey in 1984 in a bid to create a Kurdish homeland. Up to 60,000 people — Kurds and Turks — died before the PKK called a ceasefire in 1999.
In that year, Turkish agents captured PKK founder Abdullah Ocalan in Kenya.
The PKK, which is generally regarded to be a terrorist organisation, changed its name in the last few years and is now known as the People's Congress of Kurdistan (Kongra-Gel). Generally though, the movement is still described as the PKK.
The national prosecutor's office in the Netherlands issued a statement on Thursday announcing the arrest of the three suspects.
It said that various police investigations had revealed suspected drug dealers had been forced — sometimes with violence — to contribute to the PKK's funds.
The Dutch national detectives unit has also taken a statement from a businessman who claims he was threatened with violence if he did not give the PKK money. The organised crime division of the public prosecutor's office believe other business people have been targeted in a similar way.
[Copyright Expatica News and Novum Nieuws 2005]
Subject: Dutch news + PKK