Kurdistan Workers Party

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was founded to establish a Kurdish state and self-rule in southeastern Turkey, an area that is predominantly Kurdish. Established in 1978 by Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK began its terrorism campaign focusing on Turkish security forces and civilians in the early 1980s; this intensely bloody conflict would last some 15 years.

PKK's history is inextricably linked with the plight of the Kurds, the world's most numerous stateless people. Largely Muslim, Kurds number between 15 and 20 million, have their own language and culture, and live in an area known as Kurdistan, a mountainous region that lies within portions of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Armenia. Nearly 11 million Kurds live in Turkey and represent roughly 20 percent of that country's population; they are the highest concentration of Kurds anywhere.

After World War I, the breakup of the Ottoman Empire formed new ...

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