Increasing Leadership of Syrian Kurds Leads to Violent Clashes within PKK

Since the imprisonment of Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan, Syrian Kurds have taken over leadership positions, corresponding with an escalation in the group’s violent attacks, and indeed with increasingly deadly infighting. This could spell the end of the PKK, writes Ersin Ramoglu.

al-monitor A pro-Kurdish demonstrator covers her face as riot police prevent protestors from marching, at Taksim square in central Istanbul February 15, 2012. Photo by REUTERS/Murad Sezer.

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Feb 17, 2012

Abdullah Ocalan [the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party, PKK] used to pick commanders of the organization from Halfeti and Sanliurfa [in South Eastern Turkey]. Yet, since Ocalan’s imprisonment, Syrian Kurds - renowned for their preference for violent operations - seem to have taken control of the PKK. This appears to have rankled Murat Karayilan [the PKK’s acting leader] and other high ranking commanders of the organization.

Fehman Huseyin, alias Dr. Bahoz Erdal, aka “the Executioner,” is the one who prepares and commands armed attacks [against Turkish targets]. In short, he is a vicious killer: He orders intra-organizational killings and is just as merciless with the Kurds inside the PKK [as he is with the organization’s enemies].

Recently, a group known as “deep troika” has moved up within the organization [alongside the] well known A pro-Kurdish demonstrator covers her face as riot police prevent protestors from marching, at Taksim square in central Istanbul February 15, 2012.commanders of the PKK. This new group is composed of radical leftists Duran Kalkan (Abbas), Mustafa Karasu (Huseyin Ali) and Ali Haydar Kaytan (Fuat), and has now taken over the role of planning and executing violent attacks. According to the strategy drawn up by the three terrorists that compose this radical left wing leadership, the Syrian killer [Fehman Huseyin] commands the armed wing.

Huseyin is also in charge of some of the PKK’s armed offshoots.  Huseyin controls the Kurdish Freedom Falcons (TAK), a faction known for attacking cities, as well as the HPG (the People's Defense Forces) - the most uncontrollable group within the PKK - responsible for suicide bombings.

All of the armed activities of the organization are now carried out with the consent of Huseyin.

Last week PKK terrorists were encircled by the Turkish soldiers in a cave in the province of Bingol. The terrorists decided to surrender in response to the calls of the soldiers. However Hashim Kaya, code named “Peri” or “Mahir,” the Erzurum [a city in Turkey] commander of the organization, objected to this decision and hurled hand grenades upon his comrades..

The survivors of the clash confessed that it was Behoz Erdal [Fehman Huseyin] who ordered this intra-organizational execution.

The increasing authority held by Syrians within the PKK is seriously disturbing. Intelligence sources say that Bashar al-Assad, whose relations with Turkey are now quite sour, supports Fehman Huseyin. They also say that Assad sent many Syrian armed militants to support the organization upon Huseyin’s request. Syrians are gaining more power within the PKK, and are using a firm hand in dealing with Kurds.

Behoz Erdal [Fehman Huseyin] has tried to poison Murat Karayilan [the PKK’s most important leader, after Ocalan]. He has killed six of Karayilan’s men in the past.

This internal conflict could signal the end of the PKK.

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