Kurdistan Workers' Party
|“||For more than thirty years the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been struggling for the legitimate rights of the Kurdish people. Our struggle, our fight for liberation turned the Kurdish question into an international issue which affected the entire Middle East into an international issue which affected the entire Middle East and brought a solution to the Kurdish question into reach.||„|
|~ Abdullah Öcalan, Democratic Confederalism|
The Kurdistan Workers' Party (Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê, PKK) is a Kurdish far-left militant and political organization based in Turkey and Iraq. Since 1984 the PKK has been involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state (with a two-year cease-fire during 2013–2015), with the initial aim of achieving an independent Kurdish state, later changing it to a demand for equal rights and Kurdish autonomy in Turkey.
The group was founded in 1978 in the village of Fis (near Lice) by a group of Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan. The PKK's ideology was originally a fusion of revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism, seeking the foundation of an independent communist state in the region, which was to be known as Kurdistan. The initial reasons given by the PKK for this were the oppression of Kurds in Turkey and Capitalism. By then, the use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned in Kurdish-inhabited areas. The words "Kurds", "Kurdistan", or "Kurdish" were officially banned by the Turkish government temporarily. Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life. Many who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned. The PKK was then formed, as part of a growing discontent over the suppression of Turkey's ethnic Kurds, in an effort to establish linguistic, cultural, and political rights for Turkey's ethnic Kurdish minority.
Since the PKK's foundation, it has been involved in armed clashes with Turkish security forces. The full-scale insurgency, however, did not begin until August 15th, 1984, when the PKK announced a Kurdish uprising. Since the conflict began, more than 40,000 have died, most of whom were Turkish Kurdish civilians.
Since PKK's leader Öcalan's capture and imprisonment in 1999, he has moved on from Marxism–Leninism, leading the party to adopt his new political platform of democratic confederalism while ceasing its official calls for the establishment of a fully independent country. In May 2007, former members of the PKK helped form the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organisation of Kurds from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. In 2013, the PKK declared a ceasefire agreement and began slowly withdrawing its fighters to the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq as part of the solution process between the Turkish state and the Kurdish minority. In July 2015, the PKK announced that a ceasefire was over and said that Ankara had welched on its promises regarding the Kurdish issue. In August 2015, the PKK announced that they would accept another ceasefire with Turkey only under US guarantees.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by several states and organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the European Union. However, the United Nations and countries such as Switzerland, China, India, Russia and Egypt, have not designated the PKK as a terrorist organization.