TURKEY

More than 200 PKK suspects held in eastern Turkey

MORE THAN 200 PKK SUSPECTS HELD IN EASTERN TURKEY

More than 200 suspects linked to the PKK terrorist group have been held in eastern Van province following multiple anti-smuggling operations carried out over the course of last two months, the provincial gendarmerie command said on Thursday.

The operations were aimed at hitting the PKK's sources of funding.

In a statement, the gendarmerie said: "A total of 211 suspects were detained during 146 operations carried out by security forces across the city and rural areas; 57 of suspects were remanded in custody by the local court,".

During the operations, 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of heroin, 54 kilograms (119 pounds) marijuana as well as 750,000 contraband cigarettes, 10 tons of tobacco, 11 tons of smuggled tea, 2 tons of oil fuel and 3,000 appliances were confiscated, it said.

The seized drugs and goods were estimated to be worth at least 29 million Turkish lira ($8.19 million); companies and people involved in smuggling were also fined, it added.

More than 1,200 people, including security personnel and civilians, have lost their lives since the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU -- resumed its decades-old armed campaign in July 2015.

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