Military Wiki
Şemdin Sakık
Nickname Parmaksiz Zeki
Born 1959[1]
Place of birth Turkey
Allegiance Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Years of service 1980-1998
Rank Military Commander
Battles/wars Kurdish–Turkish conflict

Şemdin Sakık (born 1959), nicknamed Parmaksiz Zeki for having lost a finger while firing a rocket,[1] is a former commander of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)'s military forces. He is best known for ordering the May 24, 1993 PKK ambush. He has been imprisoned since his capture by Turkish forces in 1998, and is now a key witness in the Ergenekon trials.


In statements to the Ergenekon trials in 2012, he said that he became a PKK sympathizer in 1979, and joined after the 1980 Turkish coup d'état as a way of leaving the country[2] after a dispute with his father in which he shot and wounded him.[3]

His brother Sırrı Sakık is a member of Parliament for the BDP.

1993 ambush

Sakık later claimed that military commanders were aware of his planned May 24, 1993 PKK ambush, and deliberately left the soldiers unarmed and unguarded.[2] He identified a group within the military called the East Study Group (Doğu Çalışma Grubu), saying it had used the ambush as part of its coup plans.[4] Abdullah Öcalan claims Sakık ordered the 1993 ambush as part of an Ergenekon attempt to sabotage the peace process then ongoing between the PKK and the Turkish government,[5] saying that Sakık had been used by Ergenekon.[6]

Defection and capture

Falling in love with a woman may have figured in Sakık's fallout with Abdullah Öcalan.[7]

He was captured by Turkish forces in northern Iraq in 1998, shortly after defecting from the PKK to the Kurdistan Democratic Party.[8] Some sources said that the 1998 Operation Murat, launched shortly after Sakık's capture, was based in part on information obtained from Sakık.[9] He was sentenced to death in 1999, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after Turkey abolished the death penalty.[10]

Ergenekon testimony

Sakık says that Iran took back weapons it had provided to the PKK after the PKK declared a ceasefire in 1993.[11] He said that Veli Küçük gave training to PKK militants. He also claimed that the PKK had prior notice of the 1980 coup.[2]

Sakık has written a book about the PKK's executions of internal dissidents - people who challenged the leadership or later renounced violence - which he says amounts to about 2000 people.[12]

Former Secretary-General of the National Security Council Tuncer Kılınç has been reported as saying that Sakık's word could be trusted.[13]


  • Apo, Şark Yayınları, 2005.
  • Şemdin Sakık anlatıyor : Kobralar üzerimize gelince aklımızı kaçırıyorduk / Tuncer Günay, Doğan Kitap 2007.
  • Eski Bir Militanın Kaleminden Şiddetin Sefaleti, Lagin Yayınları / Araştırma-İnceleme Dizisi 2010
  • İhanetin Tarihi, Yakın Plan Yayınları / Türkiye Siyaseti Dizisi 2010
  • İmralı'da Bir Tiran: Abdullah Öcalan, Togan Yayıncılık 2012


  1. 1.0 1.1 Michael M. Gunter (2010), Historical Dictionary of the Kurds, Scarecrow Press, 4 Nov 2009. p266
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Today's Zaman, 6 November 2012, Secret witness reveals identity, shady ties between PKK and Ergenekon
  3. Hurriyet, 17 April 1998, Sakık, babasını bile vurmuş
  4. Today's Zaman, 1 June 2012, Ex-PKK commander Sakık blames military junta for deaths of 33 soldiers
  5. Today's Zaman, 25 December 2009, Sakık questioned over killings of 33 soldiers
  6. Today's Zaman, 6 December 2008, ‘Sakık plotted killings of 33 soldiers upon Ergenekon order'
  7. Mehmet Ali Birand, Hurriyet Daily News, 21 January 2010, When Şemdin Sakık falls in love
  8. New York Times, 15 April 1998, Turkish Commandos Capture a Kurdish Leader in Raid Into Iraq
  9. Hurriyet Daily News, 2 May 1998, Semdin Sakik interrogated by Jitem
  10., 7 November 2012, Senior PKK leader informant is the secret witness in Turkey’s Ergenekon coup case
  11. Today's Zaman, 11 June 2012, Sakık: Iran took weapons back after PKK declared cease-fire
  12. Today's Zaman, 22 February 2012, Diyarbakır prosecutor hears testimony from PKK’s Şemdin Sakık
  13. Orhan Miroğlu, Today's Zaman, 8 November 2012, Unsettling witness in Ergenekon case

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