Abdullah Ocalan founded the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the seventies and has directed a separatist campaign in the south east of Turkey.
PKK ideology is a mixture of nationalism and Marxism-Leninism. It campaign for independence for Turkey's 12m or so Kurds. Ocalan left Turkey in 1980 for Syria from where he organised his network among the Kurdish diaspora in Western Europe.
Ocalan had to leave Syria and went to Moscow, to Rome and finally to Nairobi where he fell into Turkish hands in 1999 and since then has been held in a Turkish island prison.
Ocalan's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after Turkey's parliament abolished the death penalty in 2002 to boost the country's effort to join the European Union (EU).
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan