PKK terrorism has plagued the Republic of Turkey since the early 1980s. During the past fifteen years, approximately 15,000 civilians and military personnel have been killed and thousands of others have suffered injuries and personal trauma. In addition, PKK terrorism has exacted a high financial toll. The group has specifically targeted the nation's tourism and economic Infrastructure and attacked individuals working In those sectors. Only recently has the government of Turkey managed to make real gains In controlling this group while Investing trillions of lira in the nation's impoverished southeast region to improve the quality of life for its residents. Further, Kurdish political parties and expanded freedoms to open Kurdish culture to Turkey has resulted In major gains politically.
The government of Turkey managed to make real gains in controlling this group while investing trillions of lira In the nation's Impoverished southeast region to improve the quality of life for Its residents. For example, while at least 1,046 villages and hamlets were evacuated because of PKK terrorism In 1994, the Turkish government spent an estimated $227,000 to compensate displaced ferrules during that same period. In addition, another $545,000 was spent to construct alternative housing for displaced ferrules from the provinces of Bingol and Sirnak.
As a result of changes to Turkey's Artlcle 8 of the Anti-Terrorism Law enacted in October 1995 and new five-year economic planning ( 1995-2000), the Turkish government has taken steps to enhance civil and political liberties and create social and economic opportunities. For example, sections of Article 8 pertaining to freedom of expression, where they had previously been denied, are now permitted. In addition, the country's new five-year development plan takes measures for massive economic development In Turkey's southeast region, the area that has been most plagued by PKK terrorism for the past eleven years.
In short, different methods to confront the PKK challenge are taking place in Turkey. Because the PKK threatens the political stability not only of Turkey but also of other countries In the Middle East and beyond, the International community seems to play a greater role In dealing with this challenge, joining Turkey in seeking solutions toward the elimination of separatist terrorism in the country.
A constructive step in this connection was undertaken by the I 5-member European Union (EU), voting on December 13,1995, to accept Turkey into the Customs Union, paving the way for an eventual full membership. To gam access to the EU, Turkey has had to overcome the perception that PKK terrorism, which represents a small minority of extremist individuals, must be treated as a human right Issue of the entire Kurdish population of southeast Turkey. Turkey's acceptance into the EU suggests that the reality that PKK terrorism Is a part of the larger phenomenon of International terrorism is no longer being challenged.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Turkey