More than 600 vil­lage guards sus­pended

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - National -

THE IN­TE­RIOR Min­istry has sus­pended some 635 vil­lage guards for links to ter­ror­ist groups and other of­fenses. The min­istry in a state­ment said that 559 guards were sus­pected for their af­fil­i­a­tion with ter­ror­ist groups and “groups pos­ing threat to na­tional se­cu­rity.” Seventy-six oth­ers were sus­pected for re­port­edly be­ing in­volved in smug­gling, hu­man traf­fick­ing and drug-re­lated of­fenses. The state­ment said that sus­pen­sion was “a mea­sure” be­fore the re­lated in­ves­ti­ga­tions came to an end.

Vil­lage guards or “güven­lik ko­ru­cusu” (se­cu­rity guard) as they were called for­mally in Turk­ish, have been for decades an in­dis­pens­able part of Turkey’s coun­tert­er­ror­ism mea­sures in the coun­try’s east­ern and south­east­ern re­gions. They are cho­sen among lo­cals with skills to use weapons and most are mem­bers of tribes that op­pose the PKK’s pres­ence in the coun­try’s east. The PKK, which claims to fight for Kur­dish self-rule in the south­east, re­mains a threat in the re­gion de­spite con­tin­u­ous coun­tert­er­ror­ism op­er­a­tions.

Some 55,000 peo­ple work as vil­lage guards and their ac­tiv­i­ties mostly cover se­cu­rity of ru­ral, re­mote ar­eas that are more vul­ner­a­ble to ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

Vil­lage guards were first in­tro­duced as a para­mil­i­tary unit in 1985 to help the se­cu­rity forces, at a time when the PKK emerged as a ma­jor ter­ror threat in the south­east.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.