Murat Karayılan

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Murat Karayılan
Nickname(s) Cemal[1]
Born 1954 (age 59–60)[2]
Birecik, Şanlıurfa, Turkey
Allegiance Kurdistan Workers' Party
Rank Chairman of Executive Committee[3]
Battles/wars Kurdish–Turkish conflict

Murat Karayılan (born 1954) is the acting leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party, which is a prescribed terrorist organization by the US, UK, Australia, Germany, EU and NATO.[4] He has been the PKK's acting leader ever since its original founder and leader, Abdullah Öcalan, was captured in 1999.[5]

Born in Birecik, Şanlıurfa, Karayılan finished his studies at a vocational college of machinery and joined the PKK in 1979. He was active in his native province of Şanlıurfa until he fled to Syria at the time of the 1980 Turkish coup d'état.[2]

Karayılan has called on Kurds to stop serving in the military of Turkey, stop paying taxes and stop using the Turkish language.[6]

In August 2011 it was alleged he had been captured by Iranian forces, a claim denied by both Iran and the PKK. Nevertheless this led to many conspiracy theories about how Karayılan was, in fact, released by Iranian forces which is a proof of his alleged links to Iran.

Suspicions of drug trafficking[edit]

On October 14, 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) targeted the senior leadership of the PKK, designating as significant foreign narcotics traffickers, Murat Karayılan, the head of the PKK, and high-ranking members Ali Rıza Altun and Zübeyir Aydar. Pursuant to the Kingpin Act, the designation freezes any assets the three designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these individuals.[7]

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