Murat Karayilan, head of the People’s Defense Forces (HPG) and a senior leader of the PKK. He is designated by the Department of the Treasury. Karayilan is also indicted by the Government of Turkey for inciting violent attacks.
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), also known as Kongra-Gel is a regionally active terrorist organization and a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The PKK has targeted Turkish government officials, police and security forces and indiscriminately injured and killed civilians. PKK uses its network and criminal activities across Europe to obtain weapons and materials. The PKK has used suicide bombers, vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), and other indiscriminate terror tactics. The PKK also recruits and indoctrinates youths, sometimes by abduction, and employs them as militants. In 1993 the PKK kidnapped 19 Western tourists including an American and in 1995 two Americans were injured in a PKK bombing.
In 2015 and 2016, the PKK expanded attacks across Turkey, metropolitan centers, and tourist destinations on Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coast. In August 2016, the group claimed a car bomb attack against Sirnak police headquarters, killing 11 and wounding more than 70. In June 2017, the PKK attacked a military convoy in southeastern Turkey, killing over 20 soldiers. Since 2015, the group has been responsible for the deaths of over 1,200 Turkish security officials and civilians.