Children of Terror: The Case of the PKK

By Sedat Laçiner
November 4, 2010
The International Strategic Research Organization

The number of children killed by PKK terrorist organization deliberately is more than 300 since 1984. Actually, we may add ‘stone or molotov cocktail-throwing children’ to the number of victims. The Turkish government has been making efforts to protect the terror victim children via the bills whereas the PKK do not abstain to push them in front of the police with stones and bombs. In recent days a bomb aiming the police exploded in the hands of a kid, who was encouraged for terror attack by the PKK, and he was seriously injured.

We know that 90% of the PKK militants at the mountains consist of the children. Thousands of children between the ages of 12-18 are under arms for so-called Kurdish rights. The recent Ertugrul Mavioglu’s interview from Kandil endorses this claim. Mavioglu, journalist, says that “most of the militants are teenagers.” The photos from Kandil Mountain are the very evidence. The kids who are at the ages to be at high school or even primary school posed with weapons. The guy they ironically protect an old man, Murat Karayilan who is 60 years old as the other leader cadre of the PKK. The leader cadre is quite healthy and not injured for years while the thousands of PKK children lost their lives in the armed conflicts. The militant children have a quite short life at the mountains; most of them die before the age of 25.


The first salient thing for the visitors of the PKK camps is “child terrorists”. The Times correspondent Matthew McAllester who visited PKK camps in 2006 also made observations in the same way. He says PKK’s girl militants were 15 years old. He further writes that “Zilan, 15, may not be big enough for her uniform but she is ready to use her Kalashnikov against Turkey.”

Washington centered CDI similarly wrote that “In 1998, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) was believed to have 3,000 child soldiers in its forces, more than 10 percent of which were girls. Reports indicate that the PKK has used children since 1994 and even developed a children’s battalion named Tabura Zaroken Sehit Agit. A child as young as seven was reported in the PKK’s ranks.” (R. Stohl, CDI, 2002). According to P.W. Singer minimum 300 people out of 3,000 is only consisted of girls and age of children falls to 7 in child terrorists (P.W. Singer, Children at War, University of California, s. 19).

At the beginning of this year Berlignske Tidende from Denmark wrote that many children are hold in the camps and this is children rights violation. Then UNICEF investigated the subject.

PKK Kidnaps Children for Terror

A father named Zulkuf K. who lives in Belgium’s Anvers city applied to the Belgium police asserting that his 15 year old son whom he could not get any information for 3 months is abducted by the PKK. Authorities determined that his son is abducted to Northern Iraq, firstly given a ‘physiological training’ (obviously brain washing) then taken to the armed military training. Father is desperate because he knows that Belgium police would not do anything. According to the UN Reports Zulkuf K. is not the only one. There are many families like that. Hence according to some reports not only the Kurdish origin children but also the German families’ children are abducted by PKK. Authorities say that the abducted children are not only used in terror events but they are also used in sabotage, seizure, and courier and in drug events. Belgium Brussels ruler Patrick De Coster said that youths are forcefully brought to the terror camps by PKK after the PKK operations at the beginning of this year. P.W. Singer tells that Kurdish immigrant’s children in Europe are firstly taken to the so-called training camps in Sweden then recruited by the terror organization. 15 March 2006 dated SWD newspaper wrote that the teenagers at the age of 15-18 are abducted from European countries and they are brought to the terror camps in Northern Iraq. According to the newspaper before the training the girls are exposed to torture and sexual abuse.

It is possible to give numerous examples. Nevertheless there is no need to this while there are videos aired at the net. If you take a look for view of the guerillas put in YouTube by PKK, you could see how PKK constituted a children army. The essential number of militants consists of children under the age of 18 at the scenes. It is very hard to find people over 30 among the rest. However the leader cadre is always composed of 50-60 years old people.


It is asserted that there are 20 million Kurdish people in Turkey. If the PKK is at the mountains for the sake of Kurdish rights then why only children are at the mountains to fight over this 20 million Kurdish people?

Is not this situation weird? How many children will lose their future in order to save the PKK leaders at their 60’s? Can a person even a terrorist be that morally corrupted to hide behind children in order to shoot?

It is obvious that PKK is not only pushing Turkey and the region into misery but also the Kurdish children. If PKK really wants wellbeing of Kurdish people, it must say goodbye to the weapons even only for these children victims.


Sedat Laçiner, former director of USAK from 2004 to 2010, is currently the rector of Çanakkale University, Turkey.