Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan
Founded in 1974 as a Marxist-Leninist insurgent
group primarily composed of Turkish Kurds. The
group's goal has been to establish an independent
Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, where the
population is predominantly Kurdish. In the early
1990s, the PKK moved beyond rural-based insurgent
activities to include urban terrorism. Turkish
authorities captured Chairman Abdullah Ocalan
in Kenya in early 1999; the Turkish State Security
Court subsequently sentenced him to death. In
August 1999, Ocalan announced a "peace initiative,"
ordering members to refrain from violence and
withdraw from Turkey and requesting dialogue with
Ankara on Kurdish issues. At a PKK Congress in
January 2000, members supported Ocalan's initiative
and claimed the group now would use only political
means to achieve its new goal, improved rights
for Kurds in Turkey.
Primary targets have been Turkish Government security
forces in Turkey. Conducted attacks on Turkish
diplomatic and commercial facilities in dozens
of West European cities in 1993 and again in spring
1995. In an attempt to damage Turkey's tourist
industry, the PKK bombed tourist sites and hotels
and kidnapped foreign tourists in the early-to-mid-1990s.
Approximately 4,000 to 5,000, most of whom currently
are located in northern Iraq. Has thousands of
sympathizers in Turkey and Europe.
Location/Area of Operation
Operates in Turkey, Europe, and the Middle East.
Has received safehaven and modest aid from Syria,
Iraq, and Iran. The Syrian Government expelled
PKK leader Ocalan and known elements of the group
from its territory in October 1998.