New laws needed for terror fight: General
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The US has finally delivered three Super Cobra fighting helicopters to Turkey, which is planning to use new choppers in its fight against the outlawed PKK militants.The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) introduced some legal arrangements to the government in a bid to strengthen the ongoing fight against terrorism, Chief of the General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel has said.
Özel’s disclosure came during a lengthy interview with Nuh Albayrak of daily Türkiye, which was published yesterday. Özel’s answers were provided in written form, the newspaper noted.
“It is being thought that there is need,” Özel said in response to a question on whether laws currently in force were sufficient for effectively fighting terror and whether the TSK needed new legal arrangements for a more efficient fight against terror.
“Thoughts and proposals about the issue have been introduced to the competent authorities,” Özel said.
The issue of Kandil Mountain has been widely discussed as part of internal politics, particularly since recent deadly attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has asked the government to launch an initiative to destroy PKK headquarters and military camps located in the Kandil Mountain, which is located along the Iranian border of Iraq. The PKK has been using the remote and mountainous region of northern Iraq as a safe haven and launch pad to attack targets in Turkey for nearly 20 years. More than 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts since the separatist PKK took up arms against the state in 1984. In recent months, fighting has escalated to the most intense level seen in more than a decade.
Operation to Kandil
Asked whether launching “a permanent operation” on Kandil Mountain was “technically possible,” Özel said such an initiative was technically possible, but would not go further into detail. When asked whether it was impossible to eliminate leading executives of the PKK with surgical strikes, Özel said: “They have been protected very well and they have been changing their location very frequently. We are trying to render [them] ineffective.”
“To render ineffective” is a term used particularly by the Turkish military which often means killing members of a terrorist organization.
According to figures given by Özel, 110 soldiers have been martyred from Jan. 1 to Sept. 24 of this year. Along the same period, 427 terrorists were killed and 54 of them were captured either injured or alive, while 117 of them surrendered, he said.
US delivers 'Cobras' to Turkey
Three Super Cobra attack helicopters that the Turkish government had long requested for use in its fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were eventually delivered by the United States on Sept. 23.
Ankara currently has six Super Cobra attack helicopters patrolling over the Southeastern Anatolian region, which regularly sees clashes between security forces and PKK militants. AH-1W helicopters arrived in Ankara on board a U.S. army C-5 military airplane that landed at Akıncılar military airbase in Ankara on Sunday, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.
The acquisition of additional helicopters is expected to contribute to the operational capability of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). However, some experts say that the number of helicopters the TSK has is still far from adequate. A retired military academic, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Daily News that three helicopters would not make much of a difference in the TSK’s struggle against the PKK. “Having a lot of helicopters would make a difference, not just three,” he said.
Turkey requested 12 second hand attack helicopters from the U.S. government four years ago. The Pentagon objected to the handover as U.S. marines already suffered from a lack of helicopters in Afghanistan. However, in November 2011, the U.S. Congress approved the sale of only three attack helicopters to Turkey, at a cost of around $111 million.
The AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter uses one of the most expensive and sophisticated weapons, firing TOW, AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank and AIM-9 Sidewinder anti-aircraft missiles. The TSK currently has six twin engine Super Cobra helicopters and twenty-six single engine cobra helicopters. Both kinds of helicopters carry similar weapon systems, but super cobra helicopters can fly at a higher altitude and are operational for a longer time.