The Kurdistan Workers' Party, commonly referred to by its Kurdish acronym, PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistani) is a Kurdish terrorist organization which from 1984 to 2013 fought an armed struggle against the Turkish state for cultural and political rights and self-determination for the Kurds in Turkey, who comprise between 10% and 25% of the population and have been subjected to official repression for decades. The group was founded in 1978 in the village of Fis (near Lice) by a group of radical Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan. The PKK's ideology was originally a fusion of revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism, seeking the foundation of an independent, Marxist–Leninist state in the region known as Kurdistan.
However, since his capture and imprisonment in 1999, the leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, has abandoned Marxism-Leninism, leading the party to adopt his new political platform of "Democratic Confederalism" (influenced strongly by the libertarian socialist philosophy of communalism) while ceasing its official calls for the establishment of a fully independent country. In May 2007, former members of the PKK helped form the KCK, an umbrella organisation of Kurds from Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. On 20 March 2005, Öcalan described the need for a democratic confederalism and went on to say:
The democratic confederalism of Kurdistan is not a State system, it is the democratic system of a people without a State... It takes its power from the people and adopts to reach self sufficiency in every field including economy.
In 2013, the PKK accepted a ceasefire agreement and began slowly withdrawing its fighters to the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq as part of the so-called "solution process" between the Turkish state and the long-disenfranchised Kurdish minority.
The name 'PKK' is usually used interchangeably for the name of its armed wing, the People's Defence Force (HPG), which was formerly called the Kurdistan National Liberty Army (ARGK). The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization internationally by several states and organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the United States, and the European Union.