Nov 19 (Reuters) - Turkey said it will hold talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) after jailed members of the militant group ended a near 10-week hunger strike, raising hopes of steps to end a 28-year-old conflict in which 40,000 people have died:
Here is a look at the outlawed PKK group:
* PKK - Abdullah Ocalan founded the Marxist-Leninist group in 1978. It took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an independent Kurdistan in the mainly Kurdish areas of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. It now seeks greater Kurdish rights and limited autonomy in southeast Turkey.
* LOGISTICS - The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Ankara, the United States and the European Union and is estimated to have up to 8,000 people under arms, mostly based in the mountains of neighbouring northern Iraq. It has support from many Kurds in Turkey as well as some among Kurdish communities across Europe. Ankara has accused Syria of arming the rebels and allowing a PKK-linked party to control parts of the border region as a counter-weight to rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
* UPSURGE IN VIOLENCE - The last 18 months have seen the heaviest fighting between the PKK and Turkish forces in more than a decade. Since June 2011, when Erdogan was re-elected to a third term, more than 800 people have been killed, the deadliest spate of fighting since PKK leader Ocalan was captured in 1999, according to estimates by the International Crisis Group.
* OCALAN IN PRISON - Ocalan was captured and sentenced to death by a Turkish court in 1999, but the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in October 2002 when Turkey abolished the death penalty. He is now imprisoned on Imrali island south of Istanbul and still commands the support of PKK members and sympathisers. Fighting dwindled for years after Ocalan's capture as a result of a string of unilateral PKK ceasefires. The PKK hunger strike, which ended on Sunday, was in part a protest at Ocalan's lack of access to lawyers for the last 15 months.
* POLITICAL BACKDROP - Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in September Turkey could hold talks with the militants if the time is right, despite the upsurge in violence. Recordings leaked last year showed senior intelligence officials had also held secret meetings with the PKK in Oslo. Turkey has boosted Kurdish cultural and language rights since taking power a decade ago, but Kurdish politicians seek moves towards autonomy in the mainly Kurdish southeast.
Sources Reuters/Jane's World Insurgency Guide
(Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)