According to intelligence reports, the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) uses locals from southeast Turkey, bordering Iraq, to smuggle oil and cigarettes.
The reports show that almost all of the terrorist organization’s income is based on drug, oil and cigarette smuggling. The PKK either forces locals along the border to smuggle these items through the mountains on donkeys or horses, or through vehicles used in trade between Turkey and Iraq.
The latest operations of the National Police Department’s Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau (KOM) targeting PKK drug smuggling netted five tons of cannabis, which were planted in the provinces of İstanbul, Ankara, Van and Aksaray. Police also seized 15 million packs of smuggled cigarettes, many of which were smuggled by the terrorist PKK.
Drawing attention to the high amount of oil smuggled by the terrorist organization, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated in 2009 that the amount of oil smuggled by the PKK in a year is worth around $18.7 million. Analysts believe this number has increased in the last two years. The PKK normally smuggles oil along with other smugglers in the and reportedly forces smugglers to give it a share of the items they smuggle.
Gendarmes seize 1.6 million packs of cigarettes
An operation carried out by gendarme units targeting a cigarette smuggling team operating in Van’s Başkale district netted 1,589,000 packs of cigarettes, which were illegally brought into the country on Friday, the Anatolia news agency has reported.
The Başkale Gendarmerie Command was informed by an unnamed source that a group of villagers were smuggling large numbers of cigarette packs by horse from northern Iraq to their village of Gedikbaşı, which is near the Turkish-Iraqi border. Gendarmes also searched the houses in the village and found more cigarette packs. The majority of the smuggled cigarettes were kept in barns. The seized cigarettes were taken to the Başkale Gendarmerie Command. Gendarmes took six people into custody. Their interrogations continue.