US says PKK deadliest terrorist organization in Europe

31 May 2013 /TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL – T he US State Department has branded the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as the deadliest terrorist organization in Europe and said it continued its violent campaign throughout the year in 2012.

In its annual report on trends in political violence, the State Department said the long-active PKK in Turkey continued its campaigns of violence last year and that there were 226 terrorist incidents reported through to November last year.

The State Department’s “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012” covers events in 2012 and does not include such developments as the settlement process between the Turkish state and the PKK and the significant decrease in violent incidents in the past five months. The report praised Turkey for being a “long-standing counterterrorism partner” of the US. It added that Ankara co-chairs the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) with its ally US, and received US assistance to address the terrorist threat posed by the PKK in 2012.

The report noted that Turkey faced a significant internal terrorist threat in 2012 and has taken strong action in response. Most prominent among terrorist groups in Turkey is the PKK, it said. The report stated that the PKK continued to demonstrate its nationwide reach with typical tactics and techniques that included ambushes of military patrols in the countryside, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) along known military or police routes and bombings of both security and civilian targets in urban areas. According to the NATO Centre of Excellence-Defense Against Terrorism in Ankara, there were 226 terrorist incidents reported through November.

The report said that as a result of last year’s military operations targeting PKK members, 494 terrorists were killed, 21 injured and 44 arrested, while 155 surrendered themselves to the authorities during the first 10 months of the year. Counterterrorism law enforcement efforts in Turkey remained focused on the domestic threat posed by several terrorist groups, including the PKK. Turkey’s methodology and legislation are geared towards confronting this internal threat.

The report also criticized the anti-terrorism law and said the limited definition of terrorism under Turkish law, restricted to activities targeting the Turkish state and its citizens, represented an impediment to effective action by Turkey against global terrorist networks. The report also listed other prominent terrorist groups such as the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C), a militant Marxist-Leninist group with anti-US and anti-NATO views that seeks the violent overthrow of the Turkish state. The report also included Turkish Hizballah (unrelated to Lebanon’s Hezbollah) as a terrorist organization, a radical religious organization founded to fight the PKK.