III. International Sources of Support


The PKK receives three forms of support from foreign nations:

( 1 ) direct all, in terms of money, weapons, and training;

  1. logistical support, either for bases or safe havens; and
  2. moral or philosophical support, in the form of open political assistance for the organization's goals, ideology, and principles. The PKK receives direct ate from Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Several reports also indicate that the PKK is currently or has recently obtained direct, logistical, and/or moral support from the former Soviet Union, Cyprus, Greece, Armenia, and Libya.

State Support

Several nations located in the Middle East have contributed to the funding, trailing, or support of the PKK and other Kurdish terrorist organizations during the past several years. Is this significant in light of Turkey's historical relationship with many of these nations as trading partners and potential allies or adversaries. In addition, some groups, such as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), are suspected of supporting the PKK's move into the Bekaa Valley in 1982. Kurdish terrorlsts and other international groups have been trained by Palestinians who themselves were trained by Soviet personnel in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in Syrian-controlled camps. The U. S. government has concluded that the PKK and other Kurdish groups have been supported by Syria, which has allowed the PKK to maintain a headquarters in Damascus, as well as by Iran, Iraq, and Libya.

Reports from Turkish intelligence, Milli Ystihbarat Te?kilaty, in the early 1980s revealed that PKK bases were located In Iran, Iraq, and Libya. Various sources contend that the Iraqi government has supplied the PKK with weapons In return for Information on their own KDP. In addition, a captured PKK member, Abdulkadir Aygan, provided formation concerning PKK training centers in Syria which were staffed by occurs from the former Soviet Union, Bulgaria, and Cuba.

Further evidence of the Syrian/Soviet relationship to Kurdish terrorist groups appeared In the Turkish newspaper Harriet in January 1989, when a captured female PKK member, Emine Gerger, stated that the PKK was supported by the former Soviet Union, Syria, and Bulgaria. During her trial at the Diyarbakir State Security Court, she testified that "Syria received the all it extends to the PKK from the Soviet Union. Indirectly, Bulgaria and Iran also support the alliance among the Soviet Union, Syria and the PKK." She clamed that Syria had the position of being the Soviet Union's representative In the Middle East, spreading the word that the PKK was waging a "war of national liberation." She further stated that Syria supported the PKK because of the "dispute about Hatay-Iskenderun" whereby "Syria hopes to benefit from the confusion and take Hatay."

The Hatay-Iskenderun dispute is significant in light of its historical relationship between Turkey and Syria. In 1938, Hatay-Iskenderun was part of the Syrian state controlled by France. In 1939, Internal elections held in Hatay resulted in a Turkish majority in its parliament. Later, this area became part of Turkey through plebiscite. Syria, however, continues to have the desire to wield authority over this area. The PKK is able to exploit this Issue in order to obtain Syrian support.

In addition to the testimony clued earlier of Emine Gerger, there is proof of Syrian-run PKK tang camps and of the fact that Damascus is the domicile of Ocalan. Further, the PKK is trained In the Bekaa Valley and has continuously obtained safe havens for PKK fugitives in Syria. The Turkish government has frequently expressed its deep concern relating to the PKK's existence in Bekaa, and has often asked the Syrian authorities to confront the issue openly and take cogent measures to eliminate the PKK' camps within the region.

Syria refilled to acknowledge publicly that the PKK was a terrorist organization until an April 1992 octal gathering between Turkey and Syria. During the meeting, Syria also admitted the presence of the PKK terrorists In the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley. Oclal talks between the Syrlan and Turkish oculars proved to be productive when Lebanese troops captured the main PKK training camp in Bekaa In cooperation with Syria. Some contend that the Syrian government began to take the PKK Issue more seriously after observing signs from Ankara that action against PKK camps by military forces was an option under consideration by Turkish authorities. Despite positive developments in Syrian-Turkish relations related to terrorism (which proved only temporary), the Syrian government consumes to allow the PKK terrorists to use the Bekaa Valley for training purposes, thereby causing Turkish- Syrian relations to remnant tense and highly uncertain. For example, on November 20,1995 In an Interview published In Lebanon's AI-Safer Dally, Syria's Foreign Minister Faruk A1-Shara identified the PKK as a "resistance movement" rather than a terrorist group.

In 1995, the French press reported ongoing cooperation between the PKK and Libya. Recently, Apo thanked Libya's leader Moammer Khadafi for supporting the "Kurdish cause." Khadafi pledged his support to the PKK after "Operation Steel" in March and military interventions in April by the Turkish army. This recent support raises questions about the future strengthening of the relationship between the PKK and Libya.

Moreover, the Turkish government provided substantial evidence that Greece supports PKK activities, particularly in the Mediterranean resorts of Turkey. First, there are admissions by certain PKK members that members of this organization are permitted to travel to Athens (Greek capital) through some of the Aegean islands and then to a camp 75 miles outside the city. Second, Western observers including the American intelligence community openly argue about the existence of a PKK camp in Greek. Finally, pictures of several Greek deputies with Apo and permission in 1995 for the ERNK to maintain an one in Athens further arm the conviction that Greek is also behind the PKK.

Greek socials persistently deny allegations tying them to the PKK. Although they reject ' the contention that cooperation exists at the state level, they do not rule out a possible link between some Greek private citizens and the PKK. One official clearly pointed out the existence of a "traditional" animosity between Greeks and Turks and that some Greek nationals may assist PKK terrorists based on this fallacious reasoning.

PKK Relations with Sub-National Terrorist Groups

The PKK is reported to maintain relations with several terrorist groups, Including the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and the Red Army Faction (RAF). For example, an early alliance was completed with ASALA on April 6,1980, in which ASALA and the PKK signed an agreement of cooperation In Seldom, Lebanon. This pact outlined a common goal of overthrowing the Turkish Republic.

The RAF of Germany also maintains contact with the PKK. It has been noted that an RAF activist participated in a "leading function" In a PKK-controlled solidarity rally in Bonn. Reports by the Federal Oce for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) corm that RAF has links to the PKK. At a meeting In Budapest, BfV Vice President Peter First described the international ties maintained by the RAF and discussed activities such as the "participation in demonstrations against the PKK ban and the trips of some members of the RAF to Turkey. "


The Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Turkey