The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) released a statement on Sunday announcing that the army has started a series of strict operations in order to prevent smuggling through Turkey’s Iraqi and Iranian border.
According to the statement, four tons of processed tea were seized on Saturday in a van driving from Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari to the Uludere district of Sirnak near the Iraqi border.
In a similar incident, 7,280 kilograms of processed tea was seized by Hakkari gendarmerie forces in a civilian car close to the Turkish-Iraqi border. Captured after the operation, the driver of the car was released after providing testimony.
Meanwhile, a total of 1,300-metres of illegal pipeline was discovered on Saturday in Hakkari by the 34th Border Brigade Command forces positioned in four different locations along the Turkish-Iranian border. The pipeline was demolished with the order of Semdinli public prosecutor in Hakkari.
In another incident, 15 illegal immigrants with 24 draught animals were spotted while trying to enter Turkey through the Iranian border. The entrance of the immigrants were prevented by the border guards of the Turkish army.
During exploration of the area along the Turkey-Iranian border, 1,170 litres of smuggled fuel were seized in 84 barrels.
The barrels were provided to gendarmerie forces with the ruling of Semdinli public prosecutor for further investigation.
A total of 12,788 hard packets of cigarettes, 29 kilograms of food products, two motorcycles, 53 mobile phones, and four cattle were also seized, TAF reported.
On June 9, Turkish military sources warned against provocation attempts in the Uludere district of Turkey’s southeastern province of Sirnak.
The Uludere district, where smuggling is source of income, previously witnessed a bitter incident when villagers smuggling goods from Iraq were mistakenly targeted by army forces as they were thought to be militants of the outlawed PKK.
According to sources, subunits of the PKK stationed in the area of Haftanin in northern Iraq gave instructions to the villagers of Uludere to establish a committee to negotiate with local military and civilian authorities for opening the border to smugglers.
The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU.
The negotiation committee was to be tasked with organising villagers to hold mass protests aimed at forcing open the border crossing with Iraq after prior demands were refused by Turkish military and local officials.