President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the media on Monday that efforts to verify the death of Fehman Hüseyin, a senior commander of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) also known as “Bahoz Erdal,” who was reported to have been killed in Syria last week.
On his way back home from the NATO leaders’ summit in Poland, Erdoğan responded to questions by a number of reporters who accompanied him during his trip.
When asked about last week’s news reports that Bahoz Erdal was killed in Syria, the president said “These are the reports we have received. From what we have been informed, he was killed among a group of 14 individuals. Efforts to confirm such reports are still ongoing.”
In response to another question regarding the claims that there is dispute within the PKK, Erdoğan said “The information we have obtained says that it is not a claim, but the truth. It is apparent that the organization is having serious troubles. They can no longer hide this problem. Defections from the organization are stemming from this. This can be viewed as an impact of our success in fighting terrorism.”
Hüseyin, who is a Syrian Kurd, is the head of the Kurdish People’s Defence Forces (HPG), an armed wing of the PKK from June 2004 until July 2009. Since 2004 he has been part of the PKK Executive Committee, along with PKK leader Murat Karayılan and PKK co-founder Cemil Bayık who preceded Hüseyin as the PKK’s military commander.
Hüseyin is considered to be the possible leader of the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), an offshoot of the PKK, which claimed a number of bomb attacks that killed both policemen and civilians in Turkey over the past year.