Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) flag
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), also known as Kongra-Gel, is a militant Marxist-Leninist Kurdish separatist group established in 1978 with the goal of creating a unified, independent Kurdistan. The group aims to gain control of Kurdish areas of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey to advance Kurdish rights and recognition. The group’s stated goal is to establish a confederation of semiautonomous Kurdish regions.
The PKK has historically maintained its headquarters in Iraq and largely focused on attacking Turkish targets in the Kurdish-dominant region of southeast Turkey. The PKK and the Turkish Government maintained a cease-fire from 2013 to 2015. Since then, Turkish security forces in southeast Turkey have pushed most of the PKK’s operations into Iraq and Syria.
Primarily in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey; affiliated groups operate in northern Syria, northern Iraq, and western Iran.
At least 4,000 members
TACTICS AND TARGETS
The PKK uses a mix of guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics. The group uses IEDs, car bombs, grenades, small arms, mortars, suicide bombings, kidnapping operations, unmanned aerial vehicles, and man-portable air defense systems in attacks primarily against Turkish and Turkish-supported forces in northern Iraq and Syria as well as Turkish personnel and infrastructure in southeastern Turkey. The PKK has also attacked Turkish Government personnel and security forces in Ankara and Istanbul.
FOREIGN TERRORIST GROUP DESIGNATION
The US State Department designated the PKK a foreign terrorist organization in October 1997.