PKK requires increasing amounts of finances every year with the gradual expansion of the group and diversification of its activities since its foundation in 1978.
Raising finance has grown to be a matter of special importance especially after PKK cadres started to relocate to Europe after 1980. Increasing number of armed members on the one hand, PKK initiatives seeking to secure influence in the media on the other, turned fundraising into a priority undertaking.
In time, PKK developed an extensive, conjointly-supplementary fundraising system in Turkey, Europe, north of Iraq and Iran configuring it in a way to act as potential alternatives for one another.
PKK’s financial infrastructure can geographically be divided into regions in Turkey, Europe and Middle East though it can also be categorized into two groups -‘legally-generated income’ and ‘illegally-generated income’- based on how the finances were raised.
A significant portion of the funds PKK requires is generated through the financial infrastructure the terrorist group created in European countries. As part of the overall strategy to cast a legal façade over its activities to circumvent possible restrictions on its actions in Europe, PKK propagandizes a non-realistic argument claiming that all income generated in Europe comes from annual volunteer fundraising campaigns.
So-called customs checkpoints PKK established on the Iraqi side of the Turkish-Iraqi border also play a critically important role in PKK finances.
PKK installed similar border checkpoints on the Iranian side of the Turkish-Iranian border which help generate a significant amount of income through the smuggling of a wide range of items with a particular focus on drugs which are trafficked from Afghanistan to Europe.
All PKK activities are carried out in close collaboration with groups involved in drugs, weapons and human trafficking with PKK receiving a share of the proceeds of crime and providing, in return, a convenient terror-inflicted operational ground for organized crime groups.
This symbiotic relation described as the ‘finance of terrorism’ helps PKK acquire the much needed sources to finance its activities.
PKK’s financial mechanism helps transfer income generated in other countries to Belgium through carriers or couriers where the accumulated money is laundered and injected into the legal financial system by the Belgium-based Financial Bureau members.
The Financial Bureau’s sphere of activity covers all European countries that host Kurdish diaspora as well as Balkans (including Greece and Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus), Ukraine, Moldavia, Russian Federation, Armenia, Australia, USA and Canada.
The Financial Committee (FC) is in charge of the financial management of the group in general including the managing of all PKK revenues/expenditures and financing of logistical needs and expenses.
The Financial Committee supervises PKK’s financial structure in general and reports to KCK Executive Committee, PKK’s most senior decision-making organ. In effect, FC acts on direct commands from Murat KARAYILAN and Cemil BAYIK.
- Taxation/Money racketeered from businessmen and businesses
- Monthly fees paid by members and supporters
- Media (magazines, newspapers, books, etc. sales)
- Relief/Funds donated by foreign countries or organizations
- PKK-controlled businesses, associations and other proxies
- PKK-organized social events (expos, concerts, etc.) and public sales of tickets, souvenirs, posters in European countries