MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK

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MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK
June 22, 2012, Friday

Mistakes, prospects, plans in terrorism problem

With Turkey unable to recover from the shock created by Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Hakkari’s Dağlıca district that claimed the lives of eight soldiers, the military’s counterattacks on terrorists and statements from the chief of General Staff that signaled a possible major operation against terrorists in Kandil have increased worry and tension among the public.

In his article “We will have many more martyrs with the current structure,” Bugün’s Adem Yavuz Arslan points to long-standing problems with military structures and its poor equipment in the East. What’s more, Arslan says, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is known for carrying out attacks with a maximum of five PKK members to avoid detection by unmanned air vehicles. And yet, the attacks in Dağlıca, Aktütün, Silvan and Pervari in recent years and Tuesday’s Dağlıca attack were carried out by between 35 and 100 members. So the question of “how can they be so sure that they won’t face a counterattack by helicopters” comes to mind. Arslan gives the example of last year’s Pervari attack, saying that the attack lasted 11 hours and asking how it was possible that no assistance from the Air Forces arrived in all that time. Finally, we wonder why every time a terrorist attack takes place the General Staff says that more professional soldiers will be sent to the East, which is followed by the news of more deaths there; and then we learn that inexperienced soldiers were fighting the terrorists.

Despite Tuesday’s attack, the PKK is weaker now than ever, Taraf’s Ahmet Altan says. The weakness doesn’t just stem from the recent successful military operations carried out against them, but from the lack of trust that Kurds and PKK members have in the PKK. Since the PKK lost at least 32 members in the Dağlıca attack, it can’t be said that the attack was a total PKK victory, and with PKK losses climbing, militants have started to question why their lives are in such danger. And the majority of Kurds long ago realized that PKK methods are not the way to end their problems. In Turkey’s new democratic period, the existence and motivations of every structure and organization are in question. And the same is happening for the PKK; its practices are being questioned, causing many supporters to lose their trust in the group. Altan says the PKK won’t be finished off by military operations but by losing the support of the Kurdish people.

Radikal’s Oral Çalışlar focuses on Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel’s recent statements in which he said that the military is capable of completely destroying Kandil, the PKK hideout and base camp in northern Iraq, on three conditions: approval by the Turkish government, US approval and a public readiness to accept significant losses. The Radikal columnist evaluates the conditions and says that the first one is easy, but the US won’t allow extensive land operations in Kandil. But if it does, many problematic aspects remain with regard to the third condition. Is martyring hundreds or perhaps thousands of soldiers the only option left to be rid of our terrorism problem? More importantly, does removing the PKK mean the terrorism problem will be over for good? Çalışlar says no. It won’t solve the problem with the militants in Turkey, and killing so many PKK members certainly won’t deter other Kurds from joining the PKK; to the contrary, the government will have to deal with a great deal of blowback for the killings that would take place in Kandil in an extensive operation. “Regardless of whether Özel’s suggestion is reasonable or even required or not, uttering such a sentence that the public should be ready to lose hundreds of soldiers is horrible,” Çalışlar notes.

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