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Ankara adopts ‘preventative strike’ policy against PKK

By Rudaw 5/6/2016
The town of Gavar, located at the juncture Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Iran, was largely destroyed after weeks of clashes between security forces and the PKK. Photo: AFP
The town of Gavar, located at the juncture Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Iran, was largely destroyed after weeks of clashes between security forces and the PKK. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—A summer of fierce fighting is forecast as the Turkish government has adopted a “preventative strike” policy in its conflict with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The policy was adopted at the first cabinet meeting of the new Turkish government, which was chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Hurriyet Daily News columnist Abdulkadir Selvi. 

“Instead of a defensive approach to PKK attacks, a ‘preventative strike’ strategy will be adopted wherever the state is operational. These can be called ‘terror-preventing operations,’ resembling the US’s global strategy after 9/11 and actually first developed by Israel,” said Selvi. 

Selvi also reported that the National Security Council and the cabinet discussed intensifying rural operations against the PKK, noting that commando units who have completed operations in urban centres “will be deployed to rural areas.”

Turkish security forces declared a military curfew on rural areas around Lice in Diyarbakir province on Saturday under the belief that “there are high profile militants in the area,” detailed a statement from the provincial governor’s office.

“This summer will certainly be hot in terms of fighting,” Selvi predicted.

After the 9/11 terror attacks, the United States adopted a preemptive war strategy. The policy was justified as anticipatory self-defense. As then Vice President Dick Cheney said at the time, “Should we be able to prevent another, much more devastating attack, we will, no question. This nation will not live at the mercy of terrorists or terror regimes.”

The strategy of preemptive attacks has been criticized as decreasing stability as it incentivizes states to be the first to start military action that might have otherwise been avoided. Critics say it is a pretext for aggression, and promotes violence with disregard to international law and civil liberties without addressing the root causes of the conflict. 

Turkish security forces have been accused of repeated human rights violations, including the massacre of civilians and the destruction of Kurdish homes in order to change the demographics of neighbourhoods, in their ongoing campaign against the PKK in urban centres in the mainly Kurdish southeast. 


Muraz Adzhoev | 5/6/2016
If the state of Turkey wants to defeat organizations of political or religious terrorism and radical ideological anarchism of any kind in order to provide peace, social stability, unity and integrity in the country, then the state authorities must solve the key Kurdish national issue by means and through overwhelming constitutional democratic reforms. The President and the Government must start fruitful official negotiations with the true Kurdish patriotic political parties interested in developing powerful united and integrated Turkey, provided that the national rights and freedoms of the Kurdish people are respectfully and lawfully guaranteed and Northern Kurdistan autonomous region established in favor of the country. There is no need at all for so called "preventative strikes" in urban-rural areas of Northern Kurdistan to fight against PKK leadership. The state of Turkey should respect the national rights of the Kurdish people first and foremost to fully defeat PKK's destructive policy and ideology.
selfie | 6/6/2016
Ankara shoots then shits itself in the foot. Come on Ankara you can't defeat Kurds, we're not some small insignificant minority anymore, and we're more stubborn than you Turks. Either you learn to live with us as equals and partners or we'll take you down with us.
Turkeywantswar | 6/6/2016
Turkey is not following international rules. They should not be surprised when other groups/countries start to behave in a similar way towards them.
American | 6/6/2016
Adopt all the Militaristic Policies you want you can never quash an ethic group's determination to gain their human rights.
Sluth | 7/6/2016
I have been reasonably good at predicting moves by Obama, Putin and most of the regional combatants. I can also see where Iran's national interests lie vis a vis Iran's approach to both Syria and Iraq. All of this counts for very little because I have no capacity to understand the Turkish Government or to predict that Government's next moves. Nothing the Turkish Government does seems logically linked to long term national interest, be that from a Kemalist perspective or a soft pan-Islamist perspective. Current polices also inhibit the longer term possibility of a family (patronage styled) dynasty emerging. There have been some benefactors. Turkish policy incoherence has until now played into Iran's hands. Luckily I don't see any Kurdish faction remaining a long term proxy of Iran. As an intended consequence or not, Turkey's war with the PKK clearly inhibits the capacity of the KRG to successfully declare independence (for a multitude of obvious reasons). Pre-emptive attacks?? Does this mean trying to locate and destroy thousands of scattered dug outs and sleeping ditches in the Qandil Mountains? Does it mean shelling Rojava with US Special Forces embedded there? Does it mean targeting PKK leadership structures (somewhere amongst the dugouts)? I don't have any ideas as to where this is going or why but, more importantly, neither does anyone else.

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