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.