According to Turkish intelligence officials, the Turkish government has started implementing a new strategy according to which some 300 important Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists have been put on a death list.
Experts believe this new strategy is being carried out to destroy the claim of top PKK members, in which they say that the Turkish government has killed at least one person from every single family in Turkey’s Southeast.
It can be said that Turkey has adopted this new counterterrorism strategy under current Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin, who assumed the post from the previous interior minister, Beşir Atalay. Within the scope of this strategy, Turkey simply put the political sides of the PKK issue aside and instead carries out heavier attacks on the terrorist organization while targeting its top 300 members.
Ankara’s new strategy started after the terrorist PKK killed 13 Turkish soldiers, while its so-called cease-fire was still in place.
Turkey’s answered the PKK attacks more heavily when several terrorist groups carried out simultaneous attacks against the gendarmerie and police in which 24 Turkish security personnel were killed, and 18 others were wounded in October. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) attacked PKK militia bases in the mountainous regions of Hakkari and Şırnak provinces.
Speaking to Today’s Zaman, government officials state that the reason behind Turkey adopting a strategy to kill the foremost PKK members is because young PKK terrorists who are mainly in the front line of the clashes with the army are getting killed and PKK leaders use these deaths as propaganda, stating that the government has killed at least one person from every single house in provinces that are predominantly Kurdish. Kurdish youth being killed in operations is strengthening hatred towards Turkey; therefore, the government now targets top PKK members.
Minister Şahin stated in October that National Police Department special ops teams will take part in counterterrorism operations carried out in rural areas. Intelligence officials told Today’s Zaman that the police and the gendarmerie now act together in counterterrorism operations; previously, there was no coordination between these organizations whatsoever.
Difference between Atalay and Şahin
In the past 30 years of counterterrorism operations against the PKK, governments have always taken measures and actions with the will of the TSK only, and this policy caused various ministers to introduce different tactics against the PKK.
Atalay was in charge in 2009, and later the government tried to solve the Kurdish problem politically. The government took the risk of losing its credibility and started negotiations with the terrorist PKK. Within the scope of this strategy, Atalay has always looked for political solutions to the PKK issue.
Turkish intelligence officials state that the current interior minister, Şahin, believes that political reforms can’t solve the Kurdish issue without reducing PKK attacks against security forces and civilians. The terrorist organization seems to have psychological superiority in the mountainous regions, which Şahin is currently trying to end in order to stop the terrorist organization’s propaganda, which states that Turkey adopts reforms only because the PKK puts pressure on the government with its terrorist attacks.
04 December 2011, Sunday / LALE KEMAL , İSTANBUL