Turkey (PKK)


Conflict Summary

As a stateless ethnic group, Kurds have long sought to attain a recognised homeland, Kurdistan. This envisaged territory includes sections of southeastern Turkey, which is home to a large Kurdish population. Turkish Kurds have suffered repression and human rights violations for decades; in 1978 the Partiya Karkaren Kurdistan (Kurdistan Workers’ Party, commonly referred to as the PKK) emerged to fight for secession and launched a violent campaign against government, military and civilian targets. Since the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1999, the organisation has indicated that it would accept a Kurdish autonomous region within Turkey. A Turkish government crackdown weakened the group considerably until support from actors within Iraqi Kurdistan led to a resurgence of attacks against Turkish forces and civilians from 2004 until the present. The Turkish government held unsuccessful peace talks with PKK leaders in Oslo, Norway in 2010. The region has seen a dramatic uptick in violence since the summer of 2012, which may be linked to the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria.