Turkish Hizballah is a Kurdish Islamic (Sunni) extremist organization
that arose in the late 1980s in response to Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK) atrocities against Muslims in southeastern Turkey, where
(Turkish) Hizballah seeks to establish an independent Islamic state.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, (Turkish) Hizballah, which is unrelated
to Lebanese Hizballah, expanded its target base and modus operandi
from killing PKK militants to conducting low-level bombings against
liquor stores, bordellos, and other establishments that the organization
considered “anti-Islamic.” In January 2000, Turkish
security forces killed Huseyin Velioglu, the leader of (Turkish)
Hizballah, in a shootout at a safehouse in Istanbul. The incident
sparked a yearlong series of counterterrorist operations against
the group that resulted in the detention of some 2,000 individuals;
authorities arrested several hundred of those on criminal charges.
At the same time, police recovered nearly 70 bodies of Turkish
and Kurdish businessmen and journalists that (Turkish) Hizballah
had tortured and brutally murdered during the mid-to-late 1990s.
The group began targeting official Turkish interests in January
2001, when its operatives assassinated the Diyarbakir police chief
in the group’s most sophisticated operation to date. Turkish
Hizballah did not conduct a major operation in 2002.
Possibly a few hundred members and several thousand supporters.
Turkey, primarily the Diyarbakir
region of southeastern Turkey.