Why can’t the TSK stop the PKK?
It will soon have been almost two months, and the attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are not coming to an end. More precisely, they cannot be made to come to an end. Tens of thousands of troops have been deployed in the region, enormous firepower is being used; however, not a day passes when the PKK does not strike. Moreover, the intelligence capability of the Turkish security forces is extremely strong. The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) can infiltrate the PKK. Intelligence support from Washington continues. Despite all this, we encounter a new attack every day.
Why is that so?
Why can’t the PKK, barely over a few thousand, which has incomparably small firepower as compared to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), be repelled? Is it because of our incompetence? Or is it because the PKK is that successful?
People support the guerillas
The biggest advantage the PKK has in the region is that it is enjoys the full support of a segment of society. When needed, they can be hidden in houses, fed, and they can easily play the role of the young son or daughter of the family. Also, let’s not forget that it is impossible to understand who is a guerilla and who is a normal citizen. The second important advantage the PKK has is that it knows the geography, especially the mountains, very well. It has its hiding and living quarters on the most remote mountains. It spends its life there. It is the absolute commander of the mountain roads. The caves the guerilla lives in and the roads it runs on are impossible for the security forces to explore. The locations of a few bunkers are known only because of intelligence or confessions.
Another difference from the past is that now the guerillas do not run away after an attack. On the contrary, they face death and risk their lives. The only reason they can do that is that they have cut all strings with life and family by “going to the mountain”: these people have nothing to lose. This situation does not apply to the security forces, however professional they may be. Those young men out there have homes, families and lives to lose. They also fight heroically, but surviving is so much more important than the country. And this is a very understandable situation.
The PKK does not attack in large groups as it used to. They wander around in small groups at night. This way, it is difficult to monitor them. Because they have many hideouts they can disappear easily. Vast areas are hit by bombs, but the groups hiding in small caves cannot be found.
Another huge advantage the PKK has is that it can very easily send its guerillas to their deaths. There is no public pressure or any questioning. The young people who have joined them in the mountains “to become heroes” do not hesitate to die. They do not look back. Their deaths are not questioned. They are buried as heroes who have lost their lives for the greatest cause.
If you take a careful look, a large portion of the casualties are because of mine explosions. It is impossible for all the roads in that geography to be kept under control. It is especially impossible to prevent mine planting at night. Exploding mines from a distance continues because it causes more deaths.
Another great advantage the PKK has is that regardless of the extent of its losses, there is no drop in new recruits. Neither the security forces nor the state can do anything about this. Moreover, because the new recruits come not only from Turkey but also from among the Kurds of Iraq, Iran and Syria, the PKK is becoming an international force.