Murat Karayılan

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Murat Karayılan
Polat Can&Murat Karayilan (cropped) - Murat Karayilan.jpg
Murat Karayılan in 2005
Born1954 (age 64–65)
Birecik, Şanlıurfa, Turkey
AllegianceKurdistan Workers' Party
Battles/warsKurdish–Turkish conflict

Murat Karayılan (Kurdish: Mirad Qarayîlan‎) (born 1954),[1] also nicknamed Cemal,[2] is one of the co-founders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

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

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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9][10]

Suspicions of drug trafficking[edit]

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.[11] As of 2011, Karayılan still has this designation.[12]

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.[13]


  1. ^ a b Murat Karayılan yakalandı mı?, 13 August 2011
  2. ^ "MFA - I. Historical Background and Development". Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Leadership reshuffle - PKK makes changes in its ranks" (PDF). Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Kurdish PKK rebel leader, Karayilan, softens tone in Turkish conflict". Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Leadership reshuffle - PKK makes changes in its ranks" (PDF). Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  6. ^ "End to Turkey's Kurdish conflict fades from sight". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Detention warrants issued for senior PKK figures". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  8. ^ Samer, Rawaa (29 March 2017). "PKK repeals Turkish attempt to assassinate Murat Karayılan". PUKMedia. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  9. ^ "PKK elebaşları kırmızı listede de 12 milyon TL ödülle aranıyor". (in Turkish).
  10. ^ "Rewards for Justice - Wanted for Terrorism - Cemil Bayik". rewardsforjustice.
  11. ^ Press Center (14 October 2009). "Treasury Designates Three Leaders of the Kongra-Gel as Significant Foreign Narcotics Traffickers". U.S. Department of the Treasury. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  12. ^ Press Center (20 April 2011). "Treasury Designates Five Leaders of the Kongra-Gel as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers". U.S. Department of the Treasury. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  13. ^ Bundesministerium des Innern (2012). "Verfassungsschutzbericht 2011" (PDF). Berlin. p. 342. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-10-11.

External links[edit]