The Kurdish–Turkish conflict is an armed conflict between the Republic of Turkey and various Kurdish insurgent groups, which have demanded separation from Turkey to create an independent Kurdistan, or to have autonomy and greater political and cultural rights for Kurds inside the Republic of Turkey. The main rebel group is the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK (Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan), which is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, the European Union and NATO. Although insurgents have carried out attacks in many regions of Turkey, the insurgency is mainly in southeastern Turkey. The PKK's military presence in Iraq's Kurdistan Region, which it uses as launchpad for attacks on Turkey, has resulted in the Turkish military carrying out frequent ground incursions and air and artillery strikes in the region, as the Kurdistan Regional Government claimed they do not have sufficient military forces to prevent the PKK from operating. The conflict has particularly affected Turkey's tourism industry and has cost the Economy of Turkey an estimated 300 to 450 billion dollars.
Since the PKK was founded on November 27, 1978, it has been involved in armed clashes with Turkish security forces. The full-scale insurgency however, did not begin until August 15, 1984 when the PKK announced a Kurdish uprising. The first insurgency lasted until September 1, 1999 when the PKK declared a unilateral cease-fire. The armed conflict was later resumed on June 1, 2004, when the PKK declared an end to its cease-fire. Since summer 2011, the conflict has become increasingly violent with resumption of large-scale hostilities.
The PKK was estimated to have between 10,000 and 15,000 fighters, 5,000 to 6,000 of which inside Turkey (the rest in neighbouring countries) as well as 60,000 to 70,000 part-time guerillas, as of 1994. In 2004, the Turkish government estimated the amounth of PKK fighters at approximately 4,000 to 5,000, of whom 3,000 to 3,500 were located in northern Iraq. By 2007 the number was said to have increased to more than 7,000. The PKK's leader Murat Karayılan claimed the group had between 7,000 and 8,000 fighters, 30 to 40% were in Iraq, and rest in Turkey where they were backed by an additional 20,000 part-time guerillas. High estimates put the number of active PKK fighters at 10,000.
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“Americans think of themselves collectively as a huge rescue squad on twenty-four-hour call to any spot on the globe where dispute and conflict may erupt.”
—Eldridge Cleaver (b. 1935)