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Abdullah ÷calan
Abdullah ÷calan
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Abdullah ÷calan escorted to Turkey by at least two intelligence agents.
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Abdullah ÷calan right after capture.
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Cyprus passport Abdullah ÷calan was captured with.

Abdullah ÷calan (b. 1948) also known as Serok Apo among his supporters, is the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).



Abdullah ÷calan was born in ÷merli, a village in the Halfeti-District, Province of Urfa, in the Southeast of Turkey, in 1948. After leaving his village after secondary school he studied Political Sciences at the University of Ankara. He successfully completed his studies and entered the civil service in Diyarbakir. Influenced by the situation of the Kurdish people who, according to ÷calan, were denied the right to live according to their own cultural identity by the Turkish state (Kurdish language was banned for use in the streets, Kurdish names were forbidden), Abdullah ÷calan became an active member of the Democratic Cultural Associations of the East, an association promoting the rights of the Kurdish people. In 1978, two years before the military coup in 1980, the Kurdistan Workers Party was founded with Abdullah ÷calan as its leader. He currently retains this post.

In 1984 the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) started their attacks against the local governments in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey in order to create an independent Kurdish state. Approximately 30,000 people have died as a result of conflict between the Turkish state and the KADEK/PKK. The PKK has on several occasions declared unilateral ceasefires, all disregarded by the Turkish state. The Turkish state has argued that they only served to support political tactics.

Until 1998 Syria was harboring the leader of PKK. As the situation got worse in Turkey the Turkish government openly threatened Syria not to support the PKK. As a result of this, Syrian government forced ÷calan to move out of the country instead of handing him to the Turkish authorities. ÷calan went to Russia first and from there he moved to various countries, including Italy (where hestayed in a luxurious villa for about 2 weeks) and Greece. He was captured in Kenya on February 15, 1999 in a joint operation between the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT), and the Israeli Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks Agency (Mossad). He was then flown back to Turkey for trial. After his capture, he declared a "peace offensive", and the 15 year rebellion ceased, although there had been several isolated incidents, often by groups posing as the PKK.

÷calan has been held under solitary confinement on the Imrali Island in the Turkish Sea of Marmara since his capture. Though initially sentenced to death, this sentence was commuted to life-long aggravated imprisonment when the death penalty was conditionally abolished in Turkey in August 2002.

On March 12 2003, the European Court of Human Rights issued a non-binding ruling that he did not receive a fair trial and his human rights were violated by the delay in bringing his case to court. Upon appeal, the Court's higher chamber confirmed the judgment that the trial was unfair on May 12 2005.

Current Situation of imprisonment of Abdullah ÷calan

  • Since his capture from Kenya in a joint operation between the CIA and MIT (Milli Istihbarat Teskilati) in February 1999, Abdullah ÷calan is imprisoned on the Island of Imrali, in the Sea of Marmara. He is the only prisoner on the fortress.
  • The cell in which ÷calan is imprisoned is sized at 13 sqm. All sanitary facilities are located in the same cell.
  • Abdullah ÷calan has officially the right to meet his lawyers every week at Wednesday. However, this right is often denied to him, and he sometimes stays months without being able to see anybody. Officially, these restrictions are blamed by Turkish authorities on "bad weather conditions".

Current Siutation

The European court of human rights has ruled that the 1999 try of ÷calan was flawed and violated his human rights. The court has further ruled that Mr ÷calan should be retried, this has been agreed to by the turkish government.

External links

Websites that support Abdullah ÷calan


Websites with criticism of Abdullah ÷calan



fr:Abdullah ÷calan ku:Abdullah ÷calan nl:Abdullah ÷calan ja:アブドゥッラー・オジャラン sv:Abdullah ÷calan


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