Terrorist Organization Profile:
Kurdistan Freedom Hawks

Teyrbazen Azadiya Kurdistan (TAK)
Kurdish Vengeance Brigade, Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, Kurdistan Freedom Falcons Organization
Iraq, Turkey
July 29, 2004
Unknown number of members
TAK may receive funding from the Kurdistan Workers' Party
The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (Tayrbazen Azadiya Kurdistan -- TAK) is a militant Kurdish group operating in Turkey. The TAK is sometimes referred to as the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons. Though the group fits into the context of a wider Kurdish nationalist movement, its precise goals are not completely clear. It claims to oppose Turkey's "false policies on the Kurdish issue," and to be seeking revenge for the deaths of Kurds at the hands of the Turkish government. What this means in practice is uncertain, though the TAK could be seeking something as big as an independent Kurdish state that includes some of southeastern Turkey. The group may, however, be focused on more limited goals, or be concerned solely with revenge for Turkish military and police operations against Kurdish communities and other Kurdish militants. One TAK attack claim in October 2004 denounced Turkey's destruction of forests in Kurdish regions. Whatever the specifics, the group is violently opposed to the Turkish government's policies towards its Kurdish minority.

TAK first appeared in 2004. There is substantial debate on the origin, composition, and affiliations of the group. Some analysts believe that the group is either a small splinter of or an alias for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the most active Kurdish militant group. Others, however, suggest that the group may be totally independent of the PKK, or only loosely connected to it. PKK leaders deny having any control over the TAK. There are some indications that the TAK was founded by disgruntled or former members of the PKK. Though the TAK has not articulated a specific platform beyond enmity with the Turkish regime, it is likely the group at least supports the PKK's goal of an independent Kurdistan.

TAK has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks against businesses and government and legal institutions since 2004. Its earliest attacks were small, non-lethal bombings in public places which the group described as "warning actions." These warnings, however, had become deadly by the summer of 2005. 20 people were injured when a bomb exploded at Cesme, a coastal resort town on July 10th. Less than one week later, five people were killed and more than a dozen wounded when a bus was blown up in another seaside town. This type of attack against a tourist target is perhaps the signature tactic of the TAK. The group uses terrorism to discourage tourism in Turkey by attacking targets such as hotels and ATMs. The TAK claims to have no desire to kill foreigners, only that it wishes to cut off a key source of revenue for the Turkish government.

Though not the largest, most visible, or most active Kurdish militant outfit in Turkey, the TAK is still a dangerous terrorist group. The group has claimed responsibility for several recent incidents, including a failed plot to attack a bus carrying legal officials on April 12th, 2006. Five of the group's members were arrested when the plot was broken up. The group also claimed responsibility for an April 5th attack on a district office of the Justice and Development Party in Istanbul. In March, one person was killed and thirteen injured when the TAK detonated a bomb near a bus station in Istanbul.

The TAK will remain active for the foreseeable future and both the frequency and lethality of its attacks may continue to increase.

Related Groups

U.S. Government Designations


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Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)

Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL)

Other Governments' Designations


Global Terrorism Database

For information compiled by the Global Terrorism Database on terrorist incidents for which this group was responsible click here.

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