Although the PKK's primary targets have included military, economic, and social assets in Turkey, PKK activities have included attacks on civilians and diplomatic facilities, extortion, arms smuggling, and drug tracking. The PKK has pursed a wide range of targets and instruments in order to facilitate its terrorist campaign. These include attacking Turkey's tourism industry, economic infrastructure, educational Institutions, and teachers in southeast Turkey; using cyanide to poison military drinking water supplies; and engaging in unconventional tactics, ranging from assassination to drive-by shootings, burning villages and forests, and executing uncooperative civilians.
Primary targets of the PKK are Turkish security forces and civilians residing in eastern Turkey. Until the military coup of 1980, the PKK concentrated its activities primarily in three regions of southeastern Turkey: ( I ) Antep, Kahramanmaras, and Malatya, (2) Urfa, Diyarbakir, and Mardin, and (3) Elazig, Tunceli, and Blngol. The PKK was organized to maintain central committee members in social political positions In each of these areas. PKK-controlled areas began to conduct "people's courts" to dispense "revolutionary justice" against perceived collaborators and enemies.
Because of guerrilla violence perpetrated by the PKK and Turkish military responses, many Kurds from Turkey's rural areas have relocated to urban areas, often forced to reside in urban shanty towns (gecekondus), thereby increasing social tension m many of Turkey's major cities. For example, Kurds living in eastern Turkey have migrated westward to Turkey's large urban centers in Izrnir, Istanbul, and Ankara. The PKK's violent strategy has apparently not been supported by the majority of the Kurdish people who have often reacted by turning to the government for protection.
In 1982, PKK terrorists succeeded in sending reconnaissance groups Into Turkey to gather intelligence on security forces and local collaborators. Early in 1983, Turkish intelligence services reported that a force of at least 12,000 Kurdish guerrillas had established encampments with 70
kilometers of the Iraqi-Turkish border. Although most of the members of this group belonged to the Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party, some were PKK members.
The years 1986 and 1987 were considered periods of propaganda "victories" for the PKK. Such victories included gaining world-wide coverage for killing twelve Turkish solders on patrol In the Hakkari province on August 13,1986. The Turkish government reacted by sending the ale force to bomb PKK camps In northern Iraq, killing approximately 150 Kurds. In Germany, PKK supporters responded by attempting to assassinate a Turkish diplomat in Hamburg, and PKK members in southeastern and northern Iraq Increased attacks on civilians and military patrols.
In the summer of 1987, frequent PKK village attacks resulted in many civilian deaths. Although the Turkish military has improved security in and around the national borders, it has generally been ineffective in apprehending or capturing many PKK members. In some rural areas, the PKK has gained some popularity by providing free medical care or food and water for villagers.
In 1989, in an attempt to attack the Turkish government's economic resources, the PKK proclaimed that it would be abandoning the policy of killing women and children and begin to target various infrastructures, such as railroads, bridges, and Industrial plants. However, the group continued to murder innocent women, children, and civilians. Also under its new strategy, the PKK attacked the Sirnak Coal Mine in the Siirt province on January 26,1989, destroying company vehicles and equipment, and tying up the night watchmen at the mine. The following day it opened fire on six Turkish oil tankers near the Iraqi border, destroying two and damaging four.
By the late 1980s, violent incidents by the PKK increased to 258 in the first six months of 1989 from 315 for the entire year of 1988. During the period from 1984 to July 1992, over 4,200 deaths in Turkey were directly attributed to PKK terrorist activities. By rrud-1995, incidents sharply increased when Turkish officials estimated that about 15,000 civilian and military personnel had been killed by PKK violence.
Finally, the Turkish government estimates that the conflict with the PKK has exacted a high financial drain on the national treasury. The government estimates that battling the PKK costs about $10 billion per year. This is particularly significant in light of the fact that Turkey is expected to maintain a budget deficit of about $5 billion for 1995.
The PKK Is becoming Increasingly active in Western Europe against Turkish targets by coordinating attacks on Turkish diplomatic, commercial, and business faculties. Two attacks of this nature occurred on June 24 and November 4,1993. As a result of the November Incident, the PKK was banned In Germany and France.
In June 1993, the PKK announced the beginning of a campaign against the Turkish tourism Industry In which "economic and tourist targets" would be attacked. Further, the group kidnapped 19 Western tourists traveling In eastern Turkey during the summer of 1993 and eight more In June 1994. The PKK has also bombed tourist sites and hotels within coastal resort cities. On June 22,1994, the group bombed two Turkish Mediterranean resorts, injuring ten foreign tourists and eight Turkish citizens. One day prior to this incident, six tourists and four Turks were wounded by an explosion in a tea garden in Fethiye, a resort located sixty rules east of Marmaris.
In an interview published on September 9,1993 In Ozgur Gundem, Ocalan clearly stressed that the Turkish economy remained one of the PKK's primary targets. He stated that even the limited attacks conducted by the PKK on tourism had "devastated" the tourism sector In the Turkish Republic. With increased damage to tourism, Ocalan claimed that this sector would no , longer continue generating financial support for counter-insurgency warfare by government forces.
The PKK had a detrimental effect on Turkish tourism in 1994 causing a $700 million decrease in revenue from the previous year. It is estimated that this amount Is tantamount to a 50 percent reduction in Turkey's expected tourism income in 1994. However, tourist revenues were expected to exceed $4.5 billion for 1995.
The PKK also targets investment projects under development in the southeastern region of Turkey. Through attacks, it has set back projects designed to promote this poor section of the country. In addition, the group has exerted an indisputable control over the fate of the investments in the area. For example, when the Turkish government opened its contracts for bidding, only PKK-approved businessmen were permitted to participate in the process. Furthermore, the group extorts a sizable portion of the monthly serials of workers employed by the Turkish government to work on the southeast investment projects. Ironically, It seems that the Turkish government ended up subsidizing the PKK In the region. As a result, many investments in southeastern Turkey have been successfully obstructed by the PKK.
Clearly, Ocalan's statements regarding attacks on the Turkish economy have been backed by active operations against this sector. Although the Turkish government provides evasive answers when asked about the adverse effects of the PKK on the Turkish economy, $ 13 billion was reserved In the budget for defense purposes In 1994.
The PKK has also been conducting attacks on teachers and schools in southeastern Turkey. From 1984 to 1994, over 217 school teachers were abducted and murdered by the PKK In southeast Turkey, 96 of whom were killed since 1990. Generally, the group kills teachers by shooting or hanging. In some Instances, the PKK releases teachers It has kidnapped, but their number remains low. From 1987 to 1994, 97 teachers were killed and only 6 were released after kidnapping by the PKK. Since 1993 the group has also targeted schools In southeastern Turkey. By the end of 1993, about 700 schools had to be closed because of brutal killings of teachers and burning of the school buildings. Overall, 3,600 schools were closed In the region, leaving nearly an estimated 100,000 children uneducated.
Beginning around 1990, the PKK has been opening a series of so-called "Kurdish Information centers" In selected major cities In Western Europe and the United States for propaganda and fundraising purposes. The group maintains such centers In the United States, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, and Spain. In 1994, the PKK opened an office in Madrid, Spain, disguised as an Information center. It was reported that some members of the Spanish Parliament and several representatives of ERNK were present at the opening. In addition, In 1994, Greece and the Netherlands have become the locations of new Kurdish Information centers. The outreach of these information centers is wide. In the Netherlands, the formation of a Kurdish Information center may have Influenced the willingness of the government to permit the founding of a PKK-led "Parliament In exile" In that nation while others refused to do.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Turkey