PKK Presence in Qandil Dimming Tourism  – PKK imposes intense security measures on the locals and tourists visiting Sidakan region

4 Sept 2016 – BasNews – SIDAKAN — The Presence of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas in the mountainous areas of Qandil in Kurdistan Region has affected tourism, with many visitors complaining about their intense security measures in several tourist attraction sites.  According to several local people and tourists, they need to go through intense security procedures while visiting Sidakan touristic sites in the northwest of capital Erbil. Many of them reported that PKK confiscates their cell phones and other electronic gadgets at the checkpoints until they return from a one-day-long tour.

Despite finding the measures against the freedom of individuals, locals and tourists told BasNews that confiscating their belongings, especially communication tools, is a risk for those taking a tour into the wild nature. The issue has also concerned the local officials as Karwan Karimkhan, Mayor of Sidakan district, says the PKK presence is preventing them from providing more public service for both the locals and visitors. “Over 100 villages [that were destroyed during long years of wars] are yet to be reconstructed due to the obstacles PKK is posing.”BasNews previously quoted local residents in Sidakan region calling on PKK guerrillas to withdraw from the civilian residential areas as their presence attracts more Turkish airstrikes.