Turkish authorities seize over 10 million cannabis plants

Turkish security forces seized over 10 million cannabis plants in an operation against drug trafficking in the country’s east, Turkey’s Interior Ministry announced on Saturday.

Provincial gendarmerie in the Genç district of Bingöl province seized 6.11 million cannabis plants at 26 different locations in the countryside, the ministry said in a written statement.

Another 4 million plants were seized at 60 locations in the Lice district of southeastern Diyarbakır province.

The 10.1 million plants confiscated since Friday brought the 15-day total seized in narco-terror operations to a total of 42.1 million, dealing a major blow to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) finances generated through drug trafficking, the ministry said.

The PKK, designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union, has been fighting an insurgency against the Turkish state for four decades.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, including 7,918 members of Turkey’s security forces, 5,557 civilians and 22,101 PKK members between 1981 and 2012, according to a report by Turkish parliament.

The Washington Institute, citing Interpol data, revealed that the PKK financed its activities through the illegal drug trade since as early as the 1980s, and managed between 60 and 80 percent of the European drug market from 1992 to 1994.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu accused Western countries in Dec. 2018 of overlooking the PKK’s drug operation, even providing the militant group logistical and legal support.