Abdullah Öcalan (born 4 April 1948), is a Kurdish militant leader who founded the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in 1978. Between 1984 and his capture in 1999, he led a Kurdish nationalist guerrilla revolt against the Turkish state.
Öcalan was arrested abroad by Turkey, convicted of treason, and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to aggravated life imprisonment when Turkey abolished the death penalty in support of its bid to be admitted to membership in the European Union. He is the sole prisoner on the İmralı island, in the Sea of Marmara. Öcalan admitted to the violent nature of the PKK, and that he personally approved and organized attacks and executions. The conflict between Turkey and the PKK has resulted in over 40,000 lives being lost, including PKK members, the Turkish military, and civilians, both Kurdish and Turkish.
From prison, he has published several books, as recently as 2007.