PKK followers target European Turks more frequently, report says

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published

Turkish people living in Europe have been more frequently facing assaults by terrorists following Operation Olive Branch in Syria, a report prepared by the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) highlighted.

"Immediately after Turkey's Operation Olive Branch started, the branches of the terrorist group have been conducting propaganda campaigns under the pretext of holding protests and resorting to violence," said the report titled, "Attacks conducted by PKK/PYD/YPG sympathizers in Europe after Operation Olive Branch."

The report stressed that there have been numerous attacks on individuals with a Turkish background, mosques and nongovernmental organizations across Europe after the Afrin operation started on Jan. 20.

In one of their latest attacks, supporters of the PKK-affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed People's Protection Units (YPG) threw paint-filled balloons at the entrance of the Turkish Embassy in Berlin Tuesday. It was reported that the police are searching for four suspects following the incident.

In another incident, a group of PKK sympathizers also raided a weekly press meeting of German government and ministries' spokespersons on Jan. 29 in Berlin. The group chanted slogans for the terrorist group and opened a banner of the YPG. The PKK is a terrorist organization that is also recognized as a terror group by the EU. However, PKK followers are still able to hold mass rallies and maintain their organizational presence across EU cities. The group has also been able to recruit members and extract financial resources from its activities in Europe, including drug trafficking.

Turkish officials have been stressing that the operation does not target Kurdish people or civilians and that the utmost attention is being paid to avoid civilian casualties. When the PKK/YPG took control of swathes of territories in Syria, Turkey, sharing a 911-kilometer-long border with Syria, took steps to eliminate the existence of terrorists along its borders. In another incident documented in the report, PKK sympathizers, who were holding a demonstration to show support for the group, attacked a Turkish man and his wife in London on Feb. 5. The strategic importance of Afrin for Turkey is underlined in the report as it shares a 130-kilometer-long border. There have been a high number of rocket attacks from terrorists held in Afrin on Turkey's border cities.

UETD's report stressed that the terror sympathizers' attacks on Turkish people in Europe are also threats for European communities, governments and values.

"The wounding of policemen in street protests by the PKK/YPG supporters, the raiding of the government or ministry spokesperson's weekly press meetings and the attack on the office of Michel Weinreich, [Social Democratic Party] SPD Hamburg parliament deputy, have showed the size of the danger," the report wrote.

Stressing the significance of EU countries' stance on the terrorist groups, the report said leniency toward them might cause indirect support for them.

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