Since the end of World War I, Kurdistan has been administered by five sovereign states, with the largest portions of the land being respectively in Turkey (43%), Iran (31%), Iraq (18%), Syria (6%) and the former Soviet Union (2%).
The PKK’s origins can be traced back to 1974, when Öcalan, in Ankara, led a small group of radicals out of Revolutionary Youth (DEV-GENÇ). The Kurdistan Workers Party, “Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan” (PKK) was established in 1978. Öcalan, the leader of the organization took refuge in Syria, after 1980, following the efficient struggle against such organizations by the Turkish Security Forces.
In the annual report of the U.S. State Department published in April 1993 under the title of “Patterns of Global Terrorism” the PKK is described as a “Marxist Leninist terrorist group composed of Turkish Kurds seeking to setup a Marxist state in Southeastern Turkey”
The PKK is recognized and classified as a terrorist organization by all Western countries including the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. France and Germany, recently, banned the activities of this terror group and other West European governments, are closely monitoring the situation.
PKK’s Subordinate Military Committee established under the name of Liberation Units of Kurdistan (Hazen Rizgariya Kurdistan-HRK) was dissolved and replaced by Kurdistan Peoples Liberation Army (Arteshen Rizgariya Gelli Kurdistan-ARGK) after the Third Congress of the PKK held in Damascus-Syria in October 1986.
The external center of the PKK operates through the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (Eniya Rizgariya Netewa Kurdistan-ERNK) which was established on March 21, 1985. The ERNK started to operate after 1989 when the European countries opened their doors and allowed it to flourish in their territories.
The United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotic Matters, has published a report in 1992, called “International Narcotics Control Strategy”. This report stipulates that the European drug cartel is controlled by PKK members.
The Republic of Turkey openly states that:
- The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Turkey is beyond discussion. PKK is an organization, whose ideology is based on Marxism-Leninism, seeks to establish an independent Kurdish state encompassing Turkey’s southeastern provinces. The Anatolian people have a common past. They have lived together for ten centuries thus creating a Turkish identity. The term “Turkish” refers to being a Turkish citizen. It does not reflect any ethnicity. The Anatolian people as a whole struggled for the independence of Turkey and everybody has contributed immensely in building this state. Turkey is forced to its legitimate self-defense for its territorial integrity and the protection of its people.
- In the Republic of Turkey, which relies upon the rule of law, everyone has the freedom to pursue his or her rights through legal means. The constitution of the Republic of Turkey treats individuals on equal footing before the law irrespective of their language, race, color, sex, political opinion, conviction, religion and creed. The terrorist acts of PKK in a country where all legal and democratic means for the prevalence of justice is open for all, cannot be justified. It is the legitimate right of any country facing terrorism to root it out with all legal means available to it. Turkish citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origins, are free to form or to support a political party that expresses their political views and all Turkish citizens. Moreover regardless of ethnic background, have the right to participate actively in Turkey’s multi-party system. All citizens are free to organize and to join political pressure groups, including human rights organizations.
- Turkish citizens of Kurdish ethnic origin live throughout the country and are not found exclusively in Southeastern Anatolia. It is estimated that two thirds of Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin live in the larger cities and towns outside the Southeast. They participate in all walks of social, economic and political life on equal grounds with other Turkish citizens.
On the other side it is claimed by PKK that:
- PKK is a revolutionary socialist national liberation movement formed in the 1970s which later developed into a party formation whose agenda was set against the background of a global wave of revolutionary struggles, influenced by the successful national liberation movements of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
- In order to gain the right of self-determination for Kurdish people who are linguistically, culturally and racially distinct from the rest of the Turkish population, PKK resists in all arenas and by all means against the genocide that the Turkish fascism, the striking power of imperialism is committing in Kurdistan. PKK resists against the threat it constitutes to humanity. Turkey is involved in the activities of the destruction and depopulation of thousands of Kurdish villages, massacre of tens of thousands, the torture of hundreds and thousands, the expulsion of millions of our people and the unceasing violation of human rights.
The Kurds remained one of the few ethnic groups in the world with indigenous representatives in three world geopolitical blocs: the Arab World (in Iraq and Syria), NATO (in Turkey), the South Asian-Central Asian bloc (in Iran and Turkmenistan), and until recently the Soviet bloc (in the Caucasus, now Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia). As a matter fact, until the end of the Cold War, Kurds along with the Germans were the only people in the world with their home territories used as a front line of fire by both NATO and the Warsaw Pact forces.
Turkish authorities agree that The Southeastern part of Turkey is faced with economic problems. The Turkish state has inaugurated major programs to ameliorate the living standards of the people living in the area. Among such development projects, the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) is the most important one. This project, which is disrupted by PKK terrorism, aims at changing the whole the social and economic fabric of the region and Turkey doesn’t want to put GAP at stake with all the risks of running a costly war against the guerrilla warfare.
Water and petroleum constitutes the main clash of the two parties’ interests. The region that is claimed to be the Kurdish state is the gateway to the North Iroquoian petroleum. Many critical issues such as the construction of Baku-Ceyhan pipe line, water issue concerning the Fýrat and Dicle Rivers, and the transfer of petroleum from Caspian occupy the policy agenda of the same region.
The region, consisting of the boundaries between Middle East, Russia and Caucasian, has an incredible geopolitical significance for Turkey in order to provide national security for her people. Keeping the absolute control of this territory which is situated in one of the most vulnerable areas in the world, is the only way for the Republic of Turkey to formulate a unitary state system, which respects the human rights, pluralist democracy and a secular establishment.