Armenia Denies Kurdish Rebel Link

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The Armenian Foreign Ministry immediately dismissed allegations that members of a Kurdish rebel group arrested in southern Netherlands–were planning to be sent to Armenia to fight for the PKK following their training session.

On Friday–Dutch police raided a suspected paramilitary training ground for Kurdish militants–arresting close to 30 people.

"It is not apparent what grounds the Dutch press has to even link these ‘militant trainees’ to Armenia–or what the suspects have themselves said to Dutch officials," announced Armenia’s Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Hamlet Gasparyan.

According to press reports–the detainees are all alleged members of the former Kurdistan Workers’ Party–or PKK–a rebel group which now calls itself KONGRA-GEL. The group seeks to carve out an independent Kurdish state in the mountains of Iran–Iraq–Syria and Turkey.

"Certain Political motives have–in the past–prompted the circulation of similar assertions which have not been substantiated. As in the past–this ‘revelation’ is considered not serious," stressed Gasparyan.

According to prosecutors’ statemen’s–more than 20 people were being trained for armed conflict.

There were also indications that "a number of the trainees were destined for Armenia," it said.

Other detainees allegedly arranged money transfers–passports–and passed along information to PKK members in Turkey and Armenia–prosecutors said.

The detainees–whose names were not released–included 33 men and five women.

Prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin said the group had been under observation for several months and that "the course was nearly finished."

"We wanted to prevent the group from leaving the country and putting to use the knowledge they had gained," he said.

It has been on Europe’s list of terrorist organizations since April. Dutch prosecutors said those arrested Friday will likely be charged as members.

The suspects apparently did not use weapons or explosives in their training–which were described as "more theoretical."

According to prosecutors–the suspects said they were Kurdish but were considered Turkish nationals by the Dutch state.

On Monday–The Hague’s district court blocked the extradition of alleged PKK leader Nuriye Kesbir to Turkey for her suspected role in a series of bombings in the 1990s. The Turkish justice ministry said it would appeal the decision.


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