Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has alleged that a German foundation is indirectly funneling money to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) via legal means, and criticized Germany for remaining indifferent to the situation.
Erdoğan told a group of Turkish journalists on a plane en route to Turkey from Macedonia that he is disturbed by the fact that some foundations aid the PKK, which he said is one of the reasons for the probe into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), a suspected political offshoot of the PKK.
The KCK investigation began in December 2009. A large number of Kurdish politicians, including several mayors and elected officials from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), have been detained in the case.
The suspects are accused of various crimes, including membership in a terrorist organization, aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and attempting to destroy the country’s unity and territorial integrity. The BDP says the KCK investigation is the government’s method of suppressing its politicians, denying any links between the suspects and any terrorist organization.
Erdoğan told reporters that Germany’s record on sending aid to the PKK is troublesome, but refused to name the specific foundation which he alleged is sending financial aid to the outlawed organization. The prime minister said similar foundations are signing loan deals with municipalities run by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the BDP. Erdoğan said these foundations are not only entering into loan agreements with the municipalities, but also controlling which contractors they work with.
“In this way, they legally send money to the PKK,” Erdoğan noted. The prime minister criticized Germany for remaining indifferent to these financial transactions, saying he does not know why this is the case. He confirmed that Turkey notifies Germany when such transactions take place.
Erdoğan defended the KCK investigation and said it is interesting that those municipalities whose officials are currently on trial as part of the KCK investigation are not making any serious investment in their constituencies. “For example, we sent [TL] 17 trillion to [Turkey’s southeastern province of] Hakkari. But all the sewage in Hakkari is flowing out [into the streets]. Nothing is being done about urban planning,” Erdoğan complained.
He said the provinces of Şırnak and Batman are experiencing a similar situation, and that his party deserves the credit for any development in these provinces.
Erdoğan’s remarks come at a time when Turkey has stepped up its air and artillery operations on suspected PKK members in northern Iraq in retaliation for an increase in PKK attacks on Turkish security forces inside Turkey. The PKK, branded a terrorist group by the Turkish government, the US and the EU, took up arms against the state in 1984 to fight for Kurdish autonomy. More than 40,000 people have died in the conflict.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu confirmed on Sunday that there are charitable foundations that are funneling money to the terrorist organization, and that the government is closely monitoring the situation and taking steps to block the transactions. Davutoğlu told reporters before his trip to Ukraine that it is important for Turkey to eradicate all the resources funding terrorism, and said it is Turkey’s right to expect everyone to be conscious and sensitive to civilian activities that create conditions favorable for terrorism. The foreign minister said the government has always closely monitored the transactions, adding that German foundations are not the only ones involved, but in general all similar PKK contacts are being closely investigated by the relevant state institutions.
Davutoğlu, in an address given at an international counterterrorism symposium hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and organized by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) last Monday, said the elaborate activities of the PKK in numerous countries, but especially in Europe, from where it continues financing terrorism, recruiting, spreading propaganda and trafficking drugs, should not be tolerated.
The prime minister also criticized Germany for remaining indifferent to these financial transactions for reasons Erdoğan said he is unaware of. He confirmed that Turkey notifies Germany when such transactions take place.
02 October 2011, Sunday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,