The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is an armed terrorist organization, listed as such by the United States and the European Union. Founded in 1974 and assuming paramilitary functions in 1984, the Marxist-Leninist and separatist PKK has used violence and terrorism in pursuit of Kurdish secession from the Republic of Turkey. PKK actions and terror tactics have led to tens of thousands of military and civilian deaths over the past decades and have prevented lasting stability in southeastern Turkey.
The U.S. and Europe have given cooperation and assistance to Turkey in its anti-PKK efforts. U.S. intelligence enabled the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999. In 2007, collaboration between Turkey, the U.S., and Iraq led to multiple airstrikes against the PKK in northern Iraq. In 2012, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut sponsored a Senate Resolution condemning the PKK’s terrorist attacks, propaganda, and drug smuggling activities and reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to helping Turkey put an end to PKK terrorism. The U.S. and the EU both continue to classify the PKK as a terrorist organization.
In an effort to get PKK militants to disarm and retreat, Turkish intelligence forces engaged in talks with Ocalan, from prison. By the end of March 2013, both sides had agreed to a ceasefire, which was a major step forward in a war spanning more than two decades. However, the ongoing peace process ended with the resumption of violence in 2015.
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