Turkish interior minister accuses Europe, United States of overlooking PKK’s drug trade

The Turkish Minister of Interior said on Thursday that western countries behaved in an inexplicable way concerning drug trafficking from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, Anadolu Agency reported.

The minister said during a conference on drug trafficking in the southern province of Antalya that the PKK’s role in drug trade was obvious and had been cited in the decisions and reports of official institutions in the West. He said that the PKK had been receiving logistical and legal support from  authorities in western nations. 

“Particularly when you go deeper in Europe, we receive no response for our extradition requests concerning PKK members for whom we have issued red notices,” Soylu said. 

The minister said that the European countries refrained from taking concrete action against drug trafficking in Turkey. 

“Europe is silent about the transportation of chemical and synthetic drugs to Middle East over Turkey,” he said. “I am not saying they are desperate, I am saying they are silent and do not have well-intentions.”

According to Soylu, the PKK generates an annual income of $1.5 billion through drug trafficking 

The minister also criticised the United States, which last month announced a $12 million bounty on three senior members of the PKK, Murat Karayılan, Cemil Bayık, and Duran Kalkan.

Soylu said the United States had confirmed the three were involved in the drug trade in 2009 and 2011 and had announced it would have taken financial measures against them. 

“Are they kidding us? What kind of a state are you?” said Soylu. “Now you say to the world ‘I am searching three members of a terrorist organisation.’ Who can believe your sincerity,” he said, adding that officials from the United States were recently in talks with officials from the PKK’s headquarters in Iraq over another matter.