Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles In the second half of 2014, a new force fighting against ISIS emerged in Syria and Iraq. The Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK helped thousands of ISIS-targeted religious minorities escape the Islamic State. However, they have officially been listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and other NATO countries. So, is the PKK a terrorist group? Well, it depends on who you ask. The PKK was originally established to fight for Kurdish independence from Turkey. The Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in the country, and control an autonomous region of neighboring Iraq, known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Although the Kurds make up nearly a fifth of the Turkish population, their language and culture are marginalized. They’re also banned from forming a political party to gain representation in Turkey’s government. Since it’s founding in 1978, the PKK has had many skirmishes with the Turkish military. Between 1984 and 1999, the two fought a guerrilla war. During its course, Turkey destroyed an estimated 3,000 Kurdish villages, and displaced more than 378,000 Kurds. Since then, a number of temporary ceasefires and negotiations have taken place. Because the PKK operates in Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey has made multiple incursions and airstrikes in the neighboring country. The two groups have continually gone back and forth attacking each other. Despite their designation as a terrorist group, a European Union court attempted to remove their international terrorist status in 2008. This was on the basis that no reason had been given to include them in the first place. However, the EU ignored the ruling and refused. The PKK has also been accused of being a drug trafficking ring by the US and other countries. While research uncovered some drug smuggling and low-level sales to fund the group, it was concluded that the PKK did not “directly produce or trade narcotics”. Whether the PKK are deadly terrorists, freedom fighters, or both, is primarily based on which side of the conflict you support. In 2013, a new ceasefire was called, and the PKK promised to withdraw from Turkey. However the ceasefire was breached during the PKK’s recent fight against ISIS. The PKK warned that tensions would rise again unless a roadmap to peace could be established. Whether they will be able to transition to some form of autonomy and stop fighting forever is yet to be seen. If you want to learn more about how the PKK got started, check out Seeker Daily’s video on its founder. There is a link to that story in the description below, and make sure you subscribe now so you don’t miss a single video from TestTube News!