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Kurdistan Workers Party

The Congress for Freedom and Democracy in Kurdistan (Kadek), formerly known as the Kurdistan Workers Party (Kurdish: Partiya KarkerÍn Kurdistan, PKK) was one of several groups fighting for the creation of an independent Kurdish state in southern Turkey and northern Iraq. It arose from a radical youth movement in Turkey during the 1970s proclaiming itself a revolutionary socialist national liberation movement following a Marxist-Leninist doctrine.

The group became Kadek in April 2002. On November 11, 2003 Kadek announced that it would disband, to be replaced by a new group with "a new, more democratic organisational structure that allows for broader participation". The new group is People's Congress of Kurdistan (KONGRA GEL).

Since 1978 the group was led by Abdullah ÷calan.

Numerous events in history have left several million Kurds in the Middle East stateless, primarily in Turkey and northern Iraq where most of its members are based. As a result of the violence, more than 30,000 people have been killed, a great many of which were innocent civilians. Estimates of the total number of villagers in Turkey forcibly evacuated from their homes as a result of the terrorism varies according to which side provides the figures but is believed to be approximately half a million displaced persons.

Turkish authorities captured PKK leader Abdullah ÷calan in Kenya in early 1999 and a Turkish Court subsequently sentenced him to death. In August 1999, Ocalan announced a peace initiative, ordering members to refrain from violence and requesting dialogue with the government of Turkey on Kurdish issues.

In 2002 the government of Turkey accepted certain conditions for entry into the European Union including abolition of the death penalty which will spare the life of Abdullah ÷calan, plus changes to official government policy on basic human rights for its Kurdish population.

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