Fight against PKK back to the intensity of the 90s

Fight against PKK back to the intensity of the 90s

We have to name it: The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has suffered a heavy defeat in the “urban wars” it launched in July last year. But the defeat of the PKK in this war does not mean Turkey has won. 

Yes, Turkey has won this urban “battle,” but it has to do many more things to win the “war.”

It is meaningless to enumerate them; it starts with cultural, social and economic rights, then there are many others such as the reestablishment of the most fundamental rights of housing and living in safety to “win peace.” 

The PKK, which was defeated in the cities, is also working; it wants to interrupt Turkey’s efforts to win peace. If it is not able to stop it totally, it is doing everything it can to slow it down. 

We may not be too aware of it, but in the “rural areas” that we have forgotten about for a long time, two or three separate clashes occur every day; news about attacks on police stations and unfortunately martyrs come. Planes take off and bomb PKK camps on our own soil. 

In other words, the fight has shifted to the rural areas again. 

Therefore, Turkey, which maintained its “field dominance” strategy at a low level for a while, decided to level it to the intensity of the 1990s. As a matter of fact, it is a belated decision, or the media was late in learning it.  

The field dominance strategy in the beginning of the 1990s was when Turkey, in the military sense, abandoned its defensive position, waiting for the PKK to attack, and instead adopted a military strategy where it actively searched for the PKK in the field and clashed with them where they were.

To this end, troops were deployed to various regions and there were military bases on all possible PKK transition roads. The militants of the organization were immobilized; if they moved they would be destroyed and dominance in an entire region was established. 

Of course, to this end, villages were evacuated and the region was depopulated to a great extent, thus the PKK’s hiding and logistical support means were attempted to be destroyed. 

This strategy was successful despite its heavy cost; at the end of the 1990s the PKK was not able to conduct any acts as it used to in the rural areas. 

Now, this strategy has been readopted, as we learned from Abdülkadir Selvi’s column in daily Hürriyet. 
Let us hope this strategy does not create a similar cost like in the 1990s. 

Kandil to determine Syria’s future more than Turkey 

The impression these days is that Turkey has been excluded in Syrian politics, but through the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the PKK has become the most important partner of the U.S. Whether this impression is temporary or permanent, we will see.

The reason is that there is no “final” to be seen in Syria, but as long as Turkey continues its current policies, regardless of what kind of “final” Syria reaches, it is obvious we will not be very friendly with our southern neighbor.

If the Syrian Democratic Forces coalition the U.S. had the PKK form through the PYD/People’s Protection Units (YPG) succeeds in taking Raqqa from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), it will truly gain huge prestige. On the other hand, it is also Turkey’s wish that ISIL loses in Raqqa. 

Following a military victory in Raqqa, this coalition will next go toward ISIL at the Turkish border, in other words it is quite apparent that they will fix their eyes on the region, the line that is called the Mare-Jarabulus line, the region that Turkey had drawn as a redline, saying, “Kurds cannot go there.” Again, with the support of the U.S. 

All of this would mean that Turkey is distancing further from determining Syria’s future.

It is difficult to estimate how long Turkey will continue staying in this tight place. 

I am not only talking about security concerns here. From the point of Turkey’s long-term economic interests and export markets, it needs to decrease its enemies and increase its friends. 

We should seriously think over how long these Syrian policies could be maintained.