Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used in southern Turkey to assist the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, a Turkish newspaper reported Tuesday.
The party, known by its acronym PKK, has a long history of violence in pursuit of Kurdish- self rule and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union.
Today’s Zaman newspaper reported that two months ago, Turkish intelligence had detected two Israeli Heron UAVs operating in the southern Turkish provinces of Hatay and Adana. The UAVs were reportedly collecting data on Turkish military units, then using the intelligence to set up PKK bases in northern Syria for confronting Turkish troops.
The report also claims that Kenan Yıldızbakan – a PKK member who led an assault against a Turkish naval base in Hatay in ۲۰۱۰ – has visited Israel on numerous occasions, further raising suspicions of his organization’s ties to the Jewish state.
Today’s Zaman is the English version of the Turkish paper Zaman, a mass-circulation daily linked to the Gulenist movement – an influential Islamist organization led by a Turkish religious scholar living in exile in the United States. Its coverage is broadly favorable to the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.