Military Wiki
Cemil Bayık
Nickname Cuma
Born 1951
Place of birth Turkey Keban, Elâzığ Province, Turkey
Years of service 1978-Present
Rank Member of PKK Presidency Council
Vice-Chairman of KCK Executive Council
Former ARGK commander
Battles/wars Kurdish–Turkish conflict

Cemil Bayık (born 1951 in Keban, Elazığ), also known as Cuma, is one of the five founders of the Kurdish movement Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who are still alive and is among the organization's top leadership as he is a member of the 12-man leadership council of the Koma Civaken Kurdistan (KCK), a Kurdish political umbrella organisation where the PKK is part of and[1] is also part of the three-man PKK Executive Committee, the leading body of the organisation, which consists of himself, acting PKK leader Murat Karayilan and Fehman Huseyin, a Kurd from Syria, who is the PKK's military commander.[2]

In the PKK's first Party Congress in 1978, Bayik was appointed Deputy Secretary General of the organisation, making him the PKK's second man (after Abdullah Öcalan himself)[3] and until 1995[4] he served as the leader of the PKK's military wing: the Arteshen Rizgariya Gelli Kurdistan (ARGK) or Peoples' Liberation Army.[1] In the early nineties he was the camp director at the Mahsum Korkmaz Academy, the PKK's in the Syrian controlled Beqaa Valley in Lebanon.[5]

After the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, Bayik teamed up with Murat Karayilan against the reformists in the PKK, as result reformist leaders such as Osman Öcalan, Nizamettin Tas (who previously backed Bayik against Osman Ocalan in a leadership struggle[6]) and Kani Yilmaz left the organisation, Karayilan served as acting leader of the PKK with Bayik as his nr.2. Bayik's position was however weakened when Fehman Huseyin was made leader of the PKK's new military wing Hezen Parastina Gel (HPG) or Peoples' Defence Force. Since then Bayik has been a political leader in the PKK and is in charge of the organisation's relations with Iran, Bayik himself is said to have been to Iran numerous times including to a base in Urumiyeh.[1]

Regarded as a controversial figure, he is alleged to have executed as many as 300 PKK members since the 1980s. His capabilities as military commander have been criticised by many PKK leaders including Abdullah Öcalan himself, which doesn't hold Bayik in very high regards. Abdullah Öcalan has said Bayik prefers to stay behind the front lines and has accused him of killing 17 wounded PKK fighters in 1992, in attempt to evade capture by Turkish authorities.[1]

In an interview with Bayik in 2007, The Independent named him as the second most powerful person in the PKK. [7]

Suspicions of drug trafficking[]

On April 20, 2011, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the designation of PKK founders Cemil Bayik and Duran Kalkan and other high-ranking members as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNT) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Pursuant to the Kingpin Act, the designation freezes any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these individuals.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Leading PKK Commander Cemil Bayik Crosses into Iran. Retrieved on 2012-08-20.
  2. New PKK Leadership Takes Over Insurgency. (2008-05-25). Retrieved on 2012-08-20.
  3. The Jamestown Foundation: PKK Leadership Under Pressure in the Post-Öcalan Era. Retrieved on 2012-08-20.
  4. Michael M. Gunter (15 May 1997). The Kurds and the Future of Turkey. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 35–. ISBN 978-0-312-17265-7. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  5. Markus, Aliza (October 2011). Blood and belief. p. 159. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2012-08-20.
  6. Nizamettin Tas [dead link]
  7. "Turkey 'faces choice between democracy and dictatorship'". The Independent. 2007-07-09. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  8. Press Center (April 20, 2011). "Treasury Designates Five Leaders of the Kongra-Gel as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers". U.S. Department of the Treasury. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 

External links[]

Preceded by
Mahsum Korkmaz
Military Commander of the PKK
1986 – 1995
Succeeded by
Nizamettin Taş

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