Is Turkey introducing a new anti-terror doctrine?

Is Turkey introducing a new anti-terror doctrine?

Doubtlessly, Turkey’s number-one agenda item is – still – its fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) despite visions that the government would launch a new reconciliation process in the aftermath of the November 2015 elections. 

On the contrary, the operations in the Southeast Anatolian provinces have intensified with a change in concept and scope after the PKK began urban warfare in a number of towns in the region. The clashes are getting heavier, and so are the casualties and the sufferings of the local people. 

Dozens of security personnel have been martyred so far while military sources recently said hundreds of terrorists had been neutralized in operations. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and some of his ministers are talking more often about an approaching end to operations in some of provinces while, on the other hand, signaling new operations in other towns where the PKK has a strong presence. 

Immediately after his return from Saudi Arabia, Davutoğlu held a very long meeting with the representatives of numerous nongovernmental organizations that are overwhelmingly focused on ways of producing a sustainable solution to the Kurdish question. On Feb. 2, he held a meeting with his lawmakers from the East and Southeast Anatolian region before chairing a high-level decision-making unit meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

Davutoğlu earlier said he would reveal a comprehensive package, detailing how the government would correct the damage done to the region by the PKK and how security forces would be tasked with continuing operations until what he calls “sustainable comfort” is brought to the aforementioned regions of the country. He said he would do so during a visit to Mardin on Friday, as he will spend every Friday in a different town in the southeast in a bid to show the state will continue to stand with the local people in the face of growing PKK threats.     

According to statements by some senior government sources, the government will construct strong police-security points in a number of provinces after they are fully cleared of PKK terrorists in a bid to provide “sustainable comfort.” Work is being carried out by the Interior Ministry in whose districts and provinces these security points will be constructed. The government plan is also expected to include social and economic measures for the compensation of the losses of local people along with some other projects to ameliorate living conditions in the region. 

Accompanied with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s words underlining that it was indeed the citizens living in this corner of the country that were demanding that the government fully clear the region of terrorists, one can envisage that this anti-terror campaign might take much longer than anticipated. We’ll have a better understanding once this plan is publicized this week, but all indicators show the government is readying for an anti-terror campaign that could last “years” with an ultimate objective of reaching what it describes as “sustainable comfort.”