Anti-terror police in Western Europe have rounded up more than 20 people, allegedly involved in the recruitment of fighters for Turkey’s rebel PKK.
At least 11 suspects were arrested in southeast France and a further 11 in northern and central Italy. While most of those held are thought to be ethnic Kurds, at least one is said to be an Italian far-left activist.
A senior police chief in Venice, Diego Parente, described the organisation as on an international scale, with headquarters in France and Italy. He said it was involved in recruiting and training very young Kurdish men and also many women, mostly teenagers. After this training, they were destined to join the ranks of the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, he claimed.
The crackdown targets the group which launched an armed campaign against the Turkish state in 1984, in pursuit of a Kurdish homeland. It is branded a terrorist organisation by Ankara, the EU and the United States.