During its establishment in the mid 1970s, amid violent clashes in the whole of Turkey, the organization used classic terrorism methods, such as the failed assassination of Mehmet Celal Bucak as a propaganda-of-the-deed.After the 1980 military coup, the organization developed into a paramilitary organization using resources it acquired in Bekaa valleyin part of ex-Syrian-controlled Lebanon. After 1984, PKK began to use Maoist theory of people's war.There are three phases in this theory. The militant base during the initial years was coming from different sources, so the first two phases were diffused to each other.
In the first phase (1978–1984), the PKK tried to gain the support of the Kurdish population. It attacked the machinery of government and distributed propaganda in the region. PKK tactics were based on ambush, sabotage, riots, protests, and demonstrations against the Turkish government. PKK has also been accused of violent attacks on individual civilians or residential areas (Kurds and non-Kurds alike), who refused to co-operate with the PKK or were suspected of collaborating with the Turkish authorities. During these years, the PKK fought a turf war against other predominantly Kurdish organisations in Turkey. The PKK effectively used the prison force to gain appeal among the population. In the whole Turkey, this period was characterized by violent clashes which culminated in the 1980 military coup.
During this time, the organization argued that its violent actions were explained by the need to defend Kurds in the context of what it considered as the massive cultural suppression of Kurdish identity (including the 1983 Turkish Language Act Ban) and cultural rights carried out by other governments of the region.
In the second phase (1984–1999), which followed the return of civilian rule in 1983, escalating attacks were made on the government's military and vital institutions all over the country. The objective was to destabilise Turkish authority through a long, low-intensity confrontation. In addition to skirmishing with Turkish military and police forces and local village guards, the PKK has conducted suicide bombing on government and police installations, as well as at local tourist sites. Kidnapping and assassination against government officials and Kurdish tribal leaders who were named as puppets of the state were performed as well. Widespread sabotages were continued from the first stage. PKK performed kidnapping western tourists, primarily in Istanbul but also at different resorts. Its actions have taken place mainly in Turkey and against Turkish targets in other countries, although it has on occasions co-operated with other Kurdish nationalist paramilitary groups in neighboring states, such as Iraq and Iran. PKK has also attacked Turkish diplomatic and commercial facilities across Western Europe. In effect, the Turkish state has led a series of counter-insurgency operations against the PKK, accompanied by political measures, starting with an explicit denunciation of separatism in the 1982 Constitution, and including proclamation of the state of emergency in various PKK-controlled territories starting in 1983 (when the military relinquished political control to the civilians). This series of administrative reforms against terrorism included in 1985 the creation of village guard system by the then prime minister Turgut ÷zal who is of partial Kurdish descent.
PKK members in Sweden came into conflict with the Swedish government, and in 1986 PKK became the first main suspect for the assassination of Olof Palme. The illegal investigation of these suspicion led to the Ebbe Carlsson affair.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, in an effort to win increased support from the Kurdish peasantry, the PKK altered its leftist secular ideology to better accommodate and accept Islamic beliefs. The group also abandoned its previous strategy of attacking Kurdish civilians, focusing instead on government and tourist targets. In its campaign, the organization has been accused of carrying out atrocities against both Turkish and Kurdish civilians and its actions have been criticised by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Actions of the Turkish state in the past have also been criticised by these same groups.
All in all, this low intensity conflict which has lasted more than thirty years has had a number of effects in the Turkish territory.
In the third phase (1999-current), after capture of ÷calan, according to Maoist theory of people's war claims that the conventional fighting should be established to seize cities, overthrow the government and take control of the country. This stage has never been achieved. In effect, after the capture of ÷calan, activities of the organization never reached previous levels.
Since 1999, the organization began to use improvised explosive devices rather than direct confrontation.
Kurdistan Workers' Party - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia