A multi-agency investigation led by the elite Scottish
organized crime and counterterrorism units was recently launched to monitor
individuals reportedly financing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from Eastern
Scotland. The PKK was constituted in the late 1970s as a
separatist movement determined to pursue independence for a Kurdish state in the
southeast of Anatolia using violent means. Police
Scotland conducted several raids in Edinburgh in the framework of the
counterterrorism financial investigation, but also in light of concurrent
allegations of fraud and immigration offences against the individuals identified by the police. As the head of the
Scottish organized crime and counterterrorism unit, Detective Chief
Superintendent Gerry McLean, claimed
on January 7th, Scotland’s public prosecutor will now
assess whether the suspects will be charged.
UK territory was long
exploited as the ground for PKK criminal operations, including fundraising
and propaganda efforts through the UK-licensed
satellite television channel MED-TV.
In 2001 the UK has taken action against the organization and sanctioned
the PKK as a terrorist entity in
line with a broader European and American effort to target the group’s funding
sources. However, since late 2014, UK authorities have profusely supplied arms
and military equipment to Iraqi
Kurdish forces fighting against ISIS, which are
known to have cooperated
with the PKK to counter the Islamic State on Iraqi
soil over the past years.
“Executive action in collaboration with several
partnership agencies was conducted in the east of Scotland.
"Locations were searched under the Customs and
Excise Management Act, Common Law Fraud and the Terrorism Act.
"Subsequent investigation identified additional
immigration act offences, with a significant sum of money potentially eligible
for Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation.
"This operation has provided investigative
opportunities to allow continued collaboration with Her Majesty's Revenue and
Customs, Trading Standards and Home Office Immigration Enforcement.”