Murat Karayılan in 2005
|Born||1954 (age 64–65)|
Birecik, Şanlıurfa, Turkey
|Allegiance||Kurdistan Workers' Party|
Murat Karayılan (Kurdish: Mirad Qarayîlan) (born 1954), also nicknamed Cemal, is one of the co-founders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party. He has been the organization PKK's acting leader since its original founder and leader, Abdullah Öcalan, was captured in 1999 by Turkish intelligence agents. On 2014, he left the PKK leader position and was assigned as the new commander-in-chief of the PKK's armed wing, the People's Defence Forces.
Born in Birecik, Şanlıurfa, Karayılan finished his studies at a vocational college of machinery and joined the organization 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. He has called on Kurds to stop serving in the military of Turkey, stop paying taxes and stop using the Turkish language.
On 13 December 2016, the Chief Prosecutor of Mardin issued a detention warrant for Karayılan and Duran Kalkan, another PKK commander, as part of an investigation into the killing of Derik District Governor Muhammet Fatih Safitürk.
In March 2017, there were reports of a failed assassination attempt against Karayılan, but it was unclear as to whether the attempt was made by Turkish forces or a group within the PKK.
Murat Karayilan and two other PKK leaders are wanted by the United States Department of the Treasury and the Government of Turkey for recruiting child soldiers, involving in drug trafficking, targeting Turkish government officials, police and security forces, and indiscriminately injuring and killing civilians.
Suspicions of drug trafficking
On 14 October 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated senior leaders of the organisation PKK 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. As of 2011, Karayılan still has this designation.
The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution the same year stated that it has no evidence that the organisational structures of the PKK are directly involved in drug trafficking in Germany.
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