Turkey And The Qandil Operation

- Turkey And The Qandil Operation

Harun Yahya  

The elimination of the PKK would be a milestone achievement for Turkey in preserving its territorial integrity and ensuring regional stability

Turkey started its third cross-border operation against Stalinist terrorists in Northern Iraq on March 11 and has neutralized 155 terrorists so far. The Turkish Armed Forces established 11 bases and a 25-km wide secure zone in the area. Now, Turkey is signaling its intent to initiate a wide-scale operation to eradicate terrorist cells in the Qandil Mountains as part of the state’s right to self-defense and a requirement of the UN’s Article 51.

Turkey’s recent cross-border operations: The Turkish Armed Forces’ success in the recent cross-border operations is incontrovertible. The first operation, Euphrates Shield, was held between August 2016 and February 2017 against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State (IS). As a result of this military action in Al-Bab, Syria, Turkey became a significant actor along with Russia and Iran. At least 3,045 terrorists were killed and 972 targets were destroyed. Turkey also cut the connection of the terrorist corridor lying at its southern border. In the Olive Branch Operation that was conducted from January to April 2018 in the city of Afrin in northwestern Syria, 4,497 terrorists were neutralized. The most important outcome of this military movement was that Turkey closed the Mediterranean doors of the terrorist corridor. Moreover, the US held serious roundtable discussions with its counterparts from Turkey to find a resolution for Manbij, an area in the east of the Euphrates and a red line area for Turkey. Following these triumphant military actions, Turkey is now steadfastly keeping its operation in northern Iraq.

Importance of Qandil operation: The decree to initiate an operation in Qandil, located at the border of both Iran and Iraq, was warranted by the National Security Council meeting on November 27, 2017. With this operation, the Turkish Armed Forces aim to deal both a military and a psychological blow in the fight against the PKK, signaling a possible turning point for Turkey. The PKK has been settled in Qandil since 1984. When PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was expelled from Syria in 1998, the PKK’s headquarters was shifted from Damascus to Qandil in the subsequent year. The terrorist organisation had always been in Qandil even when there was no Manbij, Afrin or the east of the Euphrates. Having its headquarters in Qandil for the longest time grants the area a symbolic value. When the Turkish Armed Forces takes control of this geography, it will not only control the territory but will also gain psychological superiority. Similarly, when Öcalan was arrested in Kenya in 1999 by MIT (Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency) along with the CIA, Turks felt a sense of relief even though they knew that terrorism would not be eradicated by arresting only one person, even though he was the leader.

Imperialist powers’ plan to divide Turkey: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said: “Imperialist powers conspire against our country. They want to build a state of terror there using the blood of our Kurdish citizens... We have to defend our country. Our fight will continue until terrorism is completely ended.” The conspiracies that Yildirim mentioned have been a constant for the Turks both during the Ottoman Empire and subsequently for the Republic of Turkey. In the 19th century, the British had most Muslim colonies with Iraq playing a central role in its Middle East politics as it was a gateway to India. Britain believed that it had to achieve control of the open seas, maintain the power balance in Europe and keep the world’s oil policy under its control so that it could secure its borders and trade routes and build worldwide hegemony. Hence, Mosul, which was both strategically crucial and possessed a massive oil reserve, was indispensable for the British interests. No wonder, after the Turkish victory in the Turkish War of Independence, there was a bitter struggle between Britain and Turkey to decide for the future of Mosul during the Lausanne negotiations. The imperialist powers planned to build a so-called ‘Kurdish state’ in southeast Turkey and deliberately refrained from finalising the Iraq-Turkey border during these negotiations, hoping to prevent Turkey from intervening in the Mosul-Kirkuk region. Although Turkey tried to reclaim these two cities, and even took the matter to the International Court of Justice in 1926, they were finally left under Iraqi Administration for political and economic reasons.

Greater Middle East project is still in action: Plots against Middle Eastern countries, including Turkey, proceeded through the Greater Middle East Project introduced in 2003 by the US. When former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice served as the NSA, she articulated on August 7, 2003, the scope of the Greater Middle East Project whereon the regimes and borders of 23 countries would change. In Libya, Syria and Iraq, the countries on her list, these changes did happen. Currently it is Iran’s turn and afterwards it will be Turkey’s. However, the Turkish nation is united to prevent such plots. The ongoing Qandil operation serves as a response to such plots just like previous cross-border operations to sustain territorial integrity. These military actions will continue until the remnants of the terrorist organisation are eliminated. Planting the Turkish flag in the Qandil mountains will be a landmark achievement. Further, continuous military presence will be necessary even after the operations to sustain Turkey’s security and regional stability.

(Harun Yahya   is a Turkish author)

Courtesy: Pioneer: Tuesday, 17 July 2018