Dutch Raid Kurdish Training Camp,Arrest 38: Indications the group wo

Dutch Raid Kurdish Training Camp, Arrest 38
By Christopher Borowski


Nov 12, 12:12 PM (ET)

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch authorities on Friday raided a camp
suspected of training Kurdish guerrillas for “terrorist attacks”
in Turkey and arrested 38 people, prosecutors said.

Around 200 police swooped on locations across the south of the
Netherlands, including a farmyard campsite in the village of Liempde
where they seized night vision equipment, instructions, passports
and a gun, prosecutors said in a statement.

“In the farmyard campsite in Liempde it appeared around 20 people
were receiving training to prepare them for the armed struggle of
the PKK in Turkey, including terrorist attacks,” prosecutors said.

The PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, has been fighting for 20 years
for a Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey, a conflict that has killed
more than 30,000 people, mostly ethnic Kurds.

Prosecutors said the recruits were learning about “waging a special
war” in training that was “dedicated to PKK martyrs.” They added
there were indications the group would be sent to join PKK militants
in Armenia. The European Union classifies the PKK as a “terrorist

A prosecutors’ spokesman said there was no connection between the
raid and investigations into suspected Islamic militants following
last week’s murder of outspoken Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

“This was a result of a year-long investigation,” the prosecution
spokesman said.

The 29 arrested at the campsite included 23 suspected PKK members,
aged 15 to 33, among them five women. Police detained a further eight
people elsewhere and searched 10 homes. Another suspect was arrested
at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport late on Thursday.

Prosecutors said the suspects had given their nationality as Kurdish,
but were probably Turkish nationals.


Prosecutors also said three men and a woman, bound for the Middle
East after training at the camp, had been arrested at Schiphol two
weeks ago. A local mayor told Dutch television the suspected camp was
used for “theory training” and likely did not involve weapons training.

“The arrests were made for endangering society,” said Jan van Homelen,
mayor of Boxtel district.

Earlier this week, a Dutch court blocked the extradition of Nuriye
Kesbir, a PKK leader, accused by Turkey of organizing and taking part
in attacks between 1993 and 1995.

It ruled that it was not certain she would receive a fair trial
in Turkey.

The violence in southeastern Turkey dropped off sharply with the
capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999 and most guerrillas
withdrew to northern Iraq.

The Turkish community is the largest minority community in the
Netherlands, numbering about 350,000. Dutch news agency ANP said the
number of Kurds living in the country is estimated at between 40,000
and 100,000, but the figure is difficult to calculate because they
hold various nationalities.