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Vetinari
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 06:09 PM
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 organization."

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.


Source: http://reuters.myway.com/article/20041112/2004-11-12T171259Z_01_L12682716_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-TURKEY-DUTCH-PKK-DC.html