Twenty foreigners and their guides, who presented themselves as election observers for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), were exposed as supporters of the terrorist PKK after their social media accounts were investigated on Sunday.
Security sources told Anadolu Agency that the 20 foreigners from Italy, France, Germany, and Iceland and their four guides were prevented from interfering in Turkey's parliamentary and presidential elections held on Sunday.
Though they presented themselves as OSCE observers, the foreigners reportedly lacked accreditations for the elections.
An investigation of their social media accounts found that the alleged observers had praised the PKK and also attended European meetings of the PKK and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a political party the Turkish government has argued is linked to the terrorist group.
On Election Day, the 20 foreigners attempted to enter schools being used as polling stations with HDP members in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir, Batman, and Sirnak and the eastern province of Agri.
Pascal T., one of the French nationals, is said to be a member of the French Communist Party’s International Relations Department and the France-“Kurdistan” Solidarity Association and previously expressed pro-PKK opinions during meetings of the terrorist group.
Turkish security forces took testimony from the French nationals in the eastern province of Agri.
It was also found that Chistina Elisa C. from Italy had spread extensive PKK/KCK propaganda on her social media account. Legal action was launched against her in the southeastern province of Batman.
Separately, three French nationals who had presented themselves as OSCE observers have been released by Turkish gendarmes in Agri.
Among these was Hulliya Turan, a French citizen of Turkish origin.
The gendarmes released Turan, Christine Jeanne Camille, and Pascal Ange on Sunday evening after taking their testimony.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU -- has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children.
Reporting by Nurten Aslan and Sitki Yildiz; Writing by Can Erozden