Foto einer Demonstration zum kurdischen Frühjahrsfest Newroz zur Illustration des Arbeitsfelds „Ausländerextremismus“

Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)

Logo der PKKZoomLogo of the PKK

In Germany, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been subject to a ban imposed on its activities since 1993. It has about 13,000 adherents. The organisation aims at gaining more political and cultural autonomy for the Kurdish people in their countries of origin, particularly in Turkey. There and in Northern Iraq, it maintains guerrilla units, the so-called People's Defence Forces (HPG).

Banner der Volksverteidigungskräfte (HPG)ZoomBanner of the People's Defence Forces (HPG)

On the occasion of the Kurdish Newroz celebrations on 21 March 2015, the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence in Turkey, confirmed his intention that the peace process – initiated more than one year ago – between the Turkish government and the PKK be continued. He called upon the PKK guerrilla forces to settle the conflict with the Turkish government. The peace process, however, is marked by mutual distrust and high demands (e.g. disarming of the PKK's fighters and release of all PKK adherents imprisoned in Turkey).

As already proclaimed by the PKK on the occasion of former ceasefires, this time, too, the HPG has reserved a right to take defensive and retaliatory measures. Although the military clashes – particularly intensive in 2012 – between PKK fighters and Turkish security forces have significantly decreased since the proclamation of the peace process, isolated cases of armed clashes have continued to occur between adherents of both sides. Thus, the HPG probably wants to convincingly demonstrate its persistent operational commitment and readiness.

Logo von Komalên Ciwan (Kurdische Jugend)ZoomLogo of Komalên Ciwan (Kurdish youth)

Since the summer of 2014, PKK adherents have used the advance of the Islamist terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) in Northern Iraq and in Syria – especially towards the Northern Syrian city of Kobanê – as an opportunity to carry out numerous protest actions. While many of these protests went off peacefully, several events were accompanied by violent clashes between protesters and both the police and Islamists.

There is a generally high potential for aggression and confrontation between PKK adherents and right-wing extremist Turks in Germany, which may well trigger spontaneous violent clashes.

The PKK remains the most powerful extremist organisation of foreigners in Germany. It is in a position to mobilise individuals far beyond the closer circle of its following. Besides, its cadre structures allow a quick implementation of new strategic and tactical guidelines, also in what refers to its possibly carrying out militant forms of action. Even though the PKK continues to attach priority to peaceful events to be staged in Europe, violence remains one option of its ideology. This is clearly illustrated not least by the recruitment of individuals for the guerrilla.

Menschen vor dem Eingang des „Internationalen Kurdischen Kulturfestival"ZoomPeople in front of the entrance to the International Kurdish Culture Festival Besucher vor der Bühne des Internationalen Kurdischen KulturfestivalsZoomVisitors in front of the stage of the International Kurdish Culture Festival
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Anti-terrorist Hotline: +49(0)221/ 792-3366

Anti-terrorist Hotline: +49(0)221/ 792-3366

Publications

2018 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

2018 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

DOI: June 2019
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Cyber attacks controlled by intelligence services

Cyber attacks controlled by intelligence services

DOI: May 2018
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2017 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

2017 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

DOI: July 2018
Further information Download
How can I identify extremists and members of foreign secret services within my environment? - Important information for refugees in Germany

How can I identify extremists and members of foreign secret services within my environment? - Important information for refugees in Germany

DOI: March 2018
Further information Download
2016 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

2016 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

DOI: July 2017
Further information Download
Our topics – Facts to know

Our topics – Facts to know

DOI: January 2017
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