23 August 2011By Zeynep Kosereisoglu, JTW
Head of the Science Committee of the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) Prof. Dr. Ihsan Bal evaluated the recent terror attacks dominating the Turkish agenda and Turkeys air operations targeting the PKK camps in northern Iraq.
He stated that the goal of the operations was containment rather than destruction, adding that the operations have psychological and logistical aspects. He emphasized that the operations aim was to prevent further attacks, thus the bridges, supply reservoirs, and general morale of the group were targeted. He mentioned that the terrorist group previously had large room for maneuver, and that this would no longer be allowed.
In regards to the question of whether or not these air strikes would be followed by a ground attack, Prof. Bal replied that this was unlikely.
However, he added that the National Security Council (NSC) decisions and the Prime Ministers statements show that those enabling the process of recruiting terrorists will also be targeted. According to him, the nature of the operations is targeting the ideological foundations of terror.
Prof. Bal said that Turkey aims for the free circulation of every idea in the social and political discourse, while the PKK and its supporters are obstructing the achievement of this aim via guns and bullets. According to the professor, the government will fight against the terrorist group while still maintaining this social and political freedom. He also underlined that these operations were done legally, transparently, and with international support. He reminded that Turkey was now supported by the USA, which in 2006 was against the Turkish air operations in northern Iraq. The European countries are not in opposition to operations that dont affect civilians, according to Prof. Bal. This international support provides legitimacy to the operations and combined with domestic support, increases Turkeys influence in the area.
Prof. Bal emphasized that Turkeys objective was not the destruction of the terrorists, rather the prevention of the arrival of terrorists from northern Iraq to Turkey. Prof. Bal, reminding that the advantage of the terrorists was their ability to determine the place, timing, and target of the attacks, mentioned that these operations were aimed at eliminating this advantage. According to him, the terrorists are now forced to leave their caves in the mountains and determine new ways of reaching Turkey, which will provide more time for Turkey.
According to Prof. Bal, activity across the borders wasnt controlled and the terrorists didnt feel any psychological pressure in regards to their cross-border activity. Thus, the operations are targeting the terrorists infiltration into Turkey.
Moreover, the democratization process, which was violently obstructed by the PKK and the KCK, will be followed up by the government, according to Prof. Dr İhsan Bal. He also touched upon the future strategies:
First, inexperienced soldiers will not be used. Emphasis will be given to the use of technical equipment. Operations will be performed by expert gendarmerie commanders and special operations teams. Second, the intelligence received by different sources will be compiled and used at the courts. Third, no decision will be carried out without judicial approval, evidence will be given utmost importance, thus the innocent will not be implicated in the crackdown against the PKK. Fourth, the democratization process for the realization of freedoms and a government based on legality will be pursued.
Prof. Dr. Ihsan Bal believes that the existing patterns must change and that those using violence shall be stopped. He underlined the need to destroy the act of terror rather than the terrorists themselves. In his words Terrorist is an inaccurate identification. It is important to fight against the wrongful acts of bombing our country. The struggle is to destroy the idea of terrorism.