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Combatting Commercial Terrorists: The PKK Case

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Money is vital for all terrorist organizations. For some organizations, it is a tool to achieve their goals for others, it is the objective itself. Terrorists participate in organized crime activities at various levels. Organized crime expert Tamara Makarenko describes the nexus between organized crime groups and terrorist groups. This study expanded her continuum into understanding the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK and its evolution through the organizations financial sources.Using this continuum, this study characterizes the PKK as a commercial terrorist group with strong financial motivations. Its financial motivations are stronger than its political ones. It originated as a pure terrorist organization sheltered by sponsoring states meanwhile, it continuously improved its capabilities in criminal fields. To more easily conduct its criminal operations, its members maintain their deceptive political rhetoric. By UN standards, the organization can also be identified as a transnational organized crime group by considering the severity of its crimes and its criminal network across the Middle East, Turkey, and Europe.

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