Policy Brief

Dead Man Tell No Lies: Using Killed-in-Action (Kia) Data To Expose The PKK’s Regional Shell Game

Utilizing over 2,500 individual reports of PKK, PJAK, and YPG terrorist deaths, this article examines the relationship between the PKK and its affiliates, and how these groups interact across time and organizational levels. The first analysis of its kind, it provides a qualitative and quantitative assessment of PKK-affiliate relationships and illustrates a cross-organizational deployment of personnel to match strategic and operational level needs in the different theaters in which the PKK and its affiliates operate. It provides evidence of an intimate and mutually supportive relationship between the PKK and its regional affiliates, challenging the very construct of the PKK as a distinctively different group from its affiliates. Rather, it asserts that HPG, YPG, and YRK armed wings should be analyzed as integrally connected groups fighting in a unified regional strategy for Ocalanian Kurdish-autonomy.