February 27, 2010
French police arrested 11 people suspected of
recruiting young fighters into the armed Kurdish
separatist movement PKK, widely branded a terrorist
group, an official said on Friday.
Seven of the suspects were detained in the
Mediterranean port city of Marseille and the rest in
Montpellier, Draguignan and Grenoble, also in the
southeast, the official said.
Police also raided several properties, including a
Kurdish cultural centre in Marseille.
The raids were part of an investigation launched in
2008 into activities in France linked to the Turkey
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK),www.ekurd.netwhich
has been fighting for an independent Kurdish
homeland for more than two decades.
The official said French anti-terrorist police
suspect it has been recruiting and training young
members at sites in France, including one training
camp discovered north of Montpellier last year.
They also suspect links with Kurdish groups in
Germany, Belgium and Italy.
Since 1984 PKK took up arms for self-rule in the
mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey
(Turkey-Kurdistan) which has claimed around 45,000
lives of Turkish soldiers and Kurdish PKK
guerrillas. A large Turkey's Kurdish community
openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
The PKK is considered a
'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK
continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite
court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds'
identity in its constitution and of their language
as a native language along with Turkish in the
country's Kurdish areas,www.ekurd.net
the party also demanded
an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and
constitution against Kurds, ranting them full
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
Last August, the government announced plans to expand
Kurdish freedoms in a bid to erode popular support
for the PKK and end the insurgency.
Although the drive faltered amid a ban on the
country's main Kurdish DTP party, street protests and PKK
violence, Ankara has vowed to push ahead with the
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AFP | Agencies