The PKK is not a Terrorist Organization

The PKK has a past as a brutal, totalitarian, Marxist-Leninist organization that emerged during the Cold War and that strove to set up a Communist, totalitarian independent state. However, the movement has come a long way since then and nowadays is its primary ideology feminism as seen in the AANES (Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria) statelet in Syria. AANES is now the center of the movement and the PKK is the periphery with the legal HDP political wing of the PKK being the center of its political activity in Turkey, including in Turkish Kurdistan. The HDP is a modern progressive, multicultural, feminist, pro-LGBTQI political party with socialist roots.

The male and female armed wings of the PKK attack only military targets, they have no bases on Syrian territory and no attacks are carried out from the AANES. There are still some antidemocratic aspects of the movement, mainly the use of crude propaganda instead of journalism and information from a Kurdistani perspective in addition to the tasteless personality cult around the imprisoned Abdullah Öcalan (b. 1949), the founder of the movement.

However much one may dislike the PKK’s guerilla warfare inside Turkish territory from its bases on Iraqi territory; is it nevertheless fundamentally abusive to label an organization as terrorist that does not target civilians or civilian targets and never under any circumstances commits acts of terrorism. The European Union, the United States government and others (especially the federal government of Germany) would be particularly well-advised to initiate comprehensive review processes of the designation as terrorist of the PKK as the conclusion should be clear as with the MEK (Mujahedin-e-Khalq, i.e. the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran) which was also unjustly formerly designated as terrorist. The PKK is not a terrorist organization, it is a feminist guerilla group struggling against a ruthless dictatorship run by an alliance of Islamists (the AKP, the Turkish branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) and fascists (the MHP, a.k.a. the Grey Wolves). 

It is fundamentally abusive of the terrorism designation to label any non-terrorist group as terrorist. This clearly needs to change and sooner rather than later.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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