Patriotic Union of Kurdistan

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan

party_name = Patriotic Union Of Kurdistan
Yekîtiya Nîştimaniya Kurdistan
یەکیتیا نیشتمانیا کوردستان
الاتحاد الوطني کوردستان
colorcode = #00A550
leader = Jalal Talabani
foundation = June 1, 1975
ideology = Kurdish nationalism, Social Democracy(party charter: Democratic Socialism)
international = Socialist International
colours = Green
headquarters = Sulaymaniyah
website = []
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) (est. 1975) ( _ku. یەکیتیا نیشتمانیا کوردستان) is a Kurdish political party in Iraqi Kurdistan.


June 1 1975: The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) was founded in June 1975, some two months after the collapse of the Kurdish rebellion of 1974-1975. Created at a moment of profound crisis for the Kurdish people in Iraq, the organisation's aim is to revitalise resistance and to rebuild and redirect Kurdish society along modern and democratic lines. The PUK has evolved into a principal Kurdish and Iraqi political movement with mass following among the Kurdish people, and internationally recognised as a key player in shaping events and developments in the region.In 1966 Jalal Talabani started a friendly relationship with Abdul-Rahman Arif, the then president of Iraq. The relationship was based upon Talabani's cooperation to the then Iraqi regime to destroy the Kurdish revolution led by Mula Mustafa. Having actually coperated with the government, the Kurdish people believe that Mam Jalal's efforts in 1966 is the darkest moment in the contemoprary hostory of Kurdsh nation.Jalal Talabani, a former student leader, lawyer, journalist and resistance leader, has been the Secretary General of the PUK since its founding in 1975. From bases inside Iraq, he led Kurdish resistance during the late 1970s and throughout most of the 1980s. Talabani, on behalf of the PUK and the Kurdistan Front, has led efforts to attain a political democratic settlement to the Kurdish national issue in Iraq.


The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan claims to be working for self-determination, human rights, democracy and peace for the Kurdish people of Iraq.


The Secretary General is Jalal Talabani, the current president of Iraq. The PUK's policy and decision making body also lies within the Politburo.


The PUK is a modern, structured political party. Its decision-making body is an elected Leadership Council of 32 members. The Leadership Council elects the Secretary General and the 11 member Political Bureau, which is in charge of the day-to-day management of the organization and implementation of the Leadership Council's resolutions and decisions. The PUK was originally formed as an umbrella organization unifying various trends within the Kurdish political movement in Iraq. In 1992, the constituent groupings within the PUK merged into a unified political movement that affirmed its social-democratic identity and affiliation. The PUK has branches in all of the major cities and towns of Iraqi Kurdistan and draws membership from a broad cross-section of Kurdish society. The membership of the PUK, based on statistics compiled in September 1998, stands at 147,280 members and associates. The PUK contested the 1992 elections for the Kurdistan National Assembly, and the party list acquired 423,682 votes of the total of 957,469 valid votes cast - giving the PUK commanding majority in three of Iraqi Kurdistan four governorates.

PUK's organizational structure includes:

Bureau for Organization: Manages PUK's organizations throughout the region, as well as producing and disseminating educational and informational materials for distribution to the membership. The bureau also supervises the electoral process within the organization and ensures that the party adheres to its bylaws. The Bureau of Organization reports to the Political Bureau and the Leadership Council on the status of PUK's membership and advises on ways to enhance the organization's standing within the population. The bureau manages the training center in which PUK's cadres are educated and trained in the party's legal, intellectual and political framework and methods of operation. This training prepares party members for active participation in party activities, administrative positions within the party, and/or positions within the regional authority.

Bureau for Information: Supervises and manages PUK media operations. Currently, the PUK operates several outlets:- The People of Kurdistan TV (based in Sulaymaniah), the main television station, and other smaller TV stations in the towns and districts of the region;- The Voice of the People of Kurdistan, a radio station that broadcasts in Kurdish and Arabic. The transmission is received throughout the Middle East and Europe. - Kurdistan-i-Nwe, a daily Kurdish newspaper, the Al-Itihad weekly in Arabic, and The Monitor, a daily bulletin in Kurdish and Arabic, which monitors international broadcasts on matters relating to Kurdish and Iraqi affairs;

Bureau for Culture and Democratic Organization: Acts as a liaison with professional and cultural organizations such as the Students' Union of Kurdistan, Women's' League of Kurdistan, and the Writer's Association.

Bureau of Finance and Management: Manages the financial affairs and administrative staff of the organization. The Leadership Council, through an independent Auditing Commission, supervises the activities of this bureau.

Bureau for Human Rights: The bureau was instituted to monitor the human rights situation in Iraqi Kurdistan - with primary emphasis on the conduct of PUK members and leadership. The bureau acts as a liaison with local human rights organizations and engages in a wide range of educational campaigns with regard to human rights principles, the rule of law, and democracy and to ensure PUK's adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The bureau reports directly to the PUK Secretary General.

Bureau for Social Affairs: In conjunction with the regional authorities, the bureau facilitates settlement of social disputes, particularly with regard to land and tribal matters.

Bureau for Martyr's and Veteran Affairs: The bureau is tasked with assisting the families and dependants of victims of the war in Kurdistan and the veteran community.

Bureau for International Relations: The bureau of international relations coordinates the activities of PUK representatives abroad and reports to PUK's political leadership on relations with foreign government and institutions. The bureau provides individual PUK representatives with guidance and information needed for their activities. Today, PUK has permanent offices in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Rome, Stockholm and Brussels, the seat of the European Parliament. In the Middle East, the PUK has offices in Tehran, Ankara, Syria and Egypt.

The Center for Strategic Studies: Originally setup by, but independent of, the PUK, the Center is a think-tank affiliated with the University of Sulaymaniah. The Center's academics write on strategic issues and offer analysis on current affairs. The Center produces original and translated (into Kurdish) works on strategic and political issues pertaining to the Middle East and produces a widely respected periodical entitled "International Policy."


The areas that PUK’s branches functioning in has been divided into 36 community where PUK located a branch in each of them with three levels according to the population of the area:

Level A: 8 Branches and each branch will consist of (Head of the branch, 2 Deputies and 8 Branch Assistants)

•Sulaymania’s 1st Branch

•Kirkuk’s 2nd Branch

•Hawler’s 3rd Branch (Erbil)

•Duhok’s 4th Branch

•Baghdad’s 5th Branch

•Mosul’s 7th Branch

•Kalar’s 11th Branch

•Khanaqen’s 12th Branch (Diala Governorate)

Level B: 12 Branches and each branch will consist of (Head of the Branch, 2 Deputies and 6 Branch Assistants)

•Soran District’s 6th Branch (Erbil Governorate)

•Raparen’s 8th Branch (Sulaymaniah Governorate)

•Sharazor District’s 9th Branch (Sulaymaniah Governorate)

•Koya District’s 14th Branch (Erbil Governorate)

•Chamchamal’s 15th Branch (Sulaymaniah Governorate)

•Hemren’s 16th Branch (Diala Governorate)

•Khabat’s 18th Branch (Erbil Governorate)

•Sulaymaniah’s 21st Branch (Sulaymaniah Suburbs)

•Pishdar’s 24th Branch (Sulaymaniah Governorate)

•Kifri’s 26th Branch (Diala Governorate)

•Dukan’s 27th Branch (Sulaymaniah Governorate)

•Shangal’s 35th Branch (Sinjar District in Mosul Governorate)

Level C: 16 Branches and each branch will consist of (Head of the Branch, 2 Deputies and 4 Branch Assistants) •Rozhihalat’s 17th Branch (Sulaymaniah Governorate)

•Aqry’s 19th Branch (Duhok Governorate)

•Qarachugh’s 20th Branch (Erbil Governorate)

•Sharbazher’s 22nd Branch (Sulaymaniah Governorate)

•Penjwen’s 23rd Branch (Sulaymaniah Governorate)

•Darbandikhan’s 25th Branch (Sulaymaniah Governorate)

•Halbjay Shahed’s 28th Branch (Halabja District in Sulaymaniah Governorate) •Kirkuk District’s 29th Branch (Kirkuk Suburbs)

•Dibiz’s 30th Branch (Kirkuk Governorate)

•Daquq’s 31st Branch (Salahaldeen Governorate)

•Sommel’s 32nd Branch (Mosul Governorate)

•Ammedi’s 33rd Branch (Duhok Governorate)

•Shekhan’s 34th Branch (Mosul Governorate)

•Zakho’s 36th Branch (Duhok Governorate)

•Choman District’s 37th Branch (Erbil Governorate)

•Shaqlawa’s 38th Branch (Erbil Governorate)

Note: the above list excluded 2 PUK branches, 10th and 13th (Peshmarga Branch and Abroad Branch)


The PUK was a coalition of five separate political entities that united under the leadership of Jalal Talabani also known to Kurds as Mam ("Uncle") Jalal and Nawshirwan Mustafa; the leading factions were Komala Ranjdarani Kurdistan ("The League") and Shorish Geran ("revolution spreaders").

The PUK received grassroots support from the urban intellectual classes of Iraqi Kurdistan upon its establishment, this was partly due to 13 of its 15 founding members being PhD holders and academics. Originally, the party was a leftist political movement which has gradually moved towards the centre ground and has now become a social democratic party and an associate member of Socialist International.

In the early 1980s the PUK evolved and broadened its appeal to all sections of Kurdish society especially the rural classes. The regional Kurdish assembly elections showed that the PUK's support lies predominantly in the southern area of Iraqi Kurdistan. Since the first Persian Gulf War, the PUK has jointly administered northern Iraqi Kurdistan with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).However, cooperation with the KDP in administering the area was not always smooth, and occasionally violence flared up between KDP and PUK militias. Effectively the areas was divided into KDP-controlled territory and PUK-controlled territory (centered around Suleymaniya).


The PUK strives for the right of self-determination for the Kurdish people within a unified democratic Iraq. The PUK advocates a political settlement to the Kurdish national issue that is based on the principles of democracy, human rights and recognition of national and cultural identity. The PUK seeks the promotion of a civil society with democratic institutions in Iraqi Kurdistan. It advocates free and open elections, democratic institutions, freedom of speech and the press and other fundamental human rights, including gender equality. Placing itself within the mainstream of the world's social democratic movement, the PUK believes that a combination of free market forces and government policy is necessary to promote balanced economic and social development and welfare. The PUK recognizes that Kurds are not the only persecuted peoples in the Republic of Iraq and strives to defend the rights of all ethnic and religious minority communities in Iraq. In this regard, the PUK works with representatives of Iraq's Turkman and Assyrian communities, as well as women's organizations. As part of the Kurdistan Regional Government, the PUK codified respect for Iraqi Kurdistan's many different political, cultural, and ethnic communities. These provisions enabled the formation of a Turkman and Assyrian Educational and Cultural Associations, as well as the restoration of churches in Sulaymaniah and other districts on behalf of the Christian community.The PUK actively engages the democratic forces in Iraq to bring about a democratic system of government. The PUK advocates a federal and democratic Iraqi state in which the Kurds, and other ethnic/cultural communities, will be able to develop their economy, their culture and their society.

Recent activities

The PUK joined with the KDP and smaller parties to form the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan as an umbrella group contesting the Iraqi National Assembly election, 2005. This unified Kurdish list gained 25.6% of the vote on the first post-Saddam Iraqi elections on 31 January 2005. Jalal Talabani is now the president of the republic of Iraq.

This was followed by the decision in January 2006, to form an alliance with the KDP and run Iraqi Kurdistan under a unified administration. []

External links

* [ Patriotic Union of Kurdistan] Official website.
* [ BBC Profile]
* [ German-kurdish homepage for politics and culture]
* [ Patriotic Union Of Kurdistan: Structure]
* [ Terrorism Knowledge Database]
* [ Blasts Target Iraq's Kurdish Parties]
* [ Iraq Kurdish Party Office Bombed]

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