Police detained Hamza Uluçay, a Turkish man working as an interpreter for the U.S. consulate in southern Turkey yesterday, for his links to the terrorist group the PKK.
Uluçay, a longtime employee of the U.S. consulate in the city of Adana, is accused of "inciting the public to rally" after the shooting of a senior PKK militant in anti-terror operations. Anadolu Agency (AA) reported that Uluçay traveled to the southeastern city of Mardin, where the senior militant code named "Behzat" was killed, and orchestrated pro-PKK rallies to denounce the killing of Behzat, who was implicated in a string of terror attacks.
The suspect was wanted by the order of prosecutors in Mardin and was detained as he left the consulate. Police transported Uluçay to Mardin for an interrogation. In a search of his residence in Adana, police found 21 $1 bills. Turkish media outlets referred the discovery as a possible link between Uluçay and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) — another terrorist group whose members use $1 bills with specific serial numbers to recognize each other.
The PKK has been waging an ongoing campaign of terror focusing on southeastern Turkey. The terror group has killed hundreds since it resumed its attacks two years after breaking a brief unilateral truce. Recently, it was blamed for a car bombing in Şanlıurfa that killed an 11-year-old boy and a security guard. Senior PKK militant "Behzat," whose real name is Yaşar Uygur, was blamed for masterminding the attack in Şanlıurfa. Uygur was also accused of a string of other deadly attacks, including one targeting the governorate in Adana that killed two people last November.
The PKK, a target of anti-terror operations, was subject to a fresh crackdown two weeks ago. Hundreds of people linked to the group have been detained in operations spanning 37 cities.
Police say the operations were carried out in response to PKK senior cadres' orders to militants to step up attacks in the so-called "spring offensive," which was expected to start later this month. The statement by police also said the PKK planned armed riots in cities similar to the ones in predominantly Kurdish southeastern cities a few years ago, where the group's supporters took to the streets for pro-PKK rallies.
The group is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU and Turkey. The U.S. is a close ally of Turkey in anti-terror efforts but is criticized for helping the People's Protection Units (YPG), a PKK affiliate which is active in northern Syria.
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