PKK, TAK and the sea of confusion

Like any war, Turkey’s conflict with the PKK has nuances that are not straightforward to unpack

Like any war, Turkey’s conflict with the PKK has nuances that are not straightforward to unpack

Despite the way leaders choose to portray them, armed conflicts are rarely a fight between the binary forces of good and evil. There are nuances that are overlooked, very often for the sake of an easier narrative.

Turkey’s decades-long conflict with the Kurds is no different. To dismantle a gross simplification: not every Turk wants to eradicate the Kurds and not every Kurd wants to destroy Turkey.

Another simplification in this conflict surrounds Turkey’s chief adversary: the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known by its Kurdish initials PKK.

The organisation founded by Abdullah Öcalan has gone through many phases, not least after Öcalan’s 1999 capture. It has unilaterally declared and renounced ceasefires. It has secretly and not-so-secretly held talks with Turkish intelligence officials aimed at ending the conflict.

Depending on who you talk to, it advocates a fully independent Kurdish state that includes territory currently part of Turkey, or simply a Kurdish autonomous region within Turkey’s borders.

But like just about any organisation, the PKK is not an entity with a single, unified message. Its divisions stretch across national boundaries and competing battles, not all of them involving Turkey.

Those divisions were thrown in the spotlight earlier this week when a PKK offshoot known as TAK, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, claimed responsibility for Sunday’s Ankara bombing. It also said it carried out the last Ankara bombing in February and an attack on an empty airliner at an Istanbul airport late last year.

TAK claims to be a separate organisation that eschews the PKK’s policy of negotiating with the Turkish government, instead calling for Turkey’s wholesale destruction. The PKK, too, says TAK has broken away from it.

Click to open infographic

But the picture is confused by people like Hüseyin Turhallı, a former PKK member who told Al-Monitor that the two organisations are one and the same.

“To me,” he says, “the TAK is not a PKK wing or independent. It is a structure that has adopted the PKK’s ideology and philosophy, but diverges from it in actions. In other words, if the PKK agrees to cease hostilities, the TAK will follow that line.”

And to complicate the picture of Kurdish fighting forces even further, consider the differences between Turkey and the United States over the People’s Protection Units, more widely known as the YPG. Is it a key Washington ally in the fight against Islamic State/Daesh, or is Ankara correct to consider it an offshoot of the PKK?

I have developed an infographic that should help decipher a few of the militant organisations and the legal political parties from the sea of acronyms and initialisms that dominate Turkey’s war with the PKK. Roll over the group names to reveal a basic description and the countries that consider it to be a terrorist organisation.

It is by no means comprehensive and very much a work in progress, but it does help to show how many organisations, but by no means all, have some form of affiliation to the PKK.

Total
0
Shares
52 comments
  1. We stumbled over here by a different page and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking at your web page for a second time.

  2. It’s the best time to make a few plans for the long run and it is time to be happy.
    I’ve learn this publish and if I may I wish to counsel you some
    fascinating things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles relating to this article.
    I desire to read more issues approximately it!

  3. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this blog.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and appearance.
    I must say you’ve done a excellent job with this. In addition, the
    blog loads very fast for me on Firefox. Superb Blog!

  4. Howdy very nice website!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your
    web site and take the feeds additionally?
    I am satisfied to seek out so many helpful info here in the publish, we’d like work out extra techniques on this regard, thank you for sharing.
    . . . . .

  5. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and
    was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers

  6. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write
    again very soon!

  7. The content of this blog is fascinating if i may, i want to say that i loved the choice of subject another excellent article this subject is very interesting.

    Your website is amazing congratulations, visit mine too:
    https://b9g.net
    .

  8. Hello There. I found your blog the usage of msn. That is an extremely smartly written article.I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your usefulinfo. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

  9. An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe
    that you need to publish more about this topic, it might not be
    a taboo matter but generally folks don’t talk about such issues.
    To the next! Best wishes!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts