Turkey's Security Issue

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1. Potential Developments in Northern Iraq and Turkey 

In the post-invasion Iraq, boundaries between the authorities of central government and regional administrative bodies still could not be delineated completely and ministries have been allocated according to ethnic and sectarian differences. The influence of the central government over regional administrations is weak and ministries operate like self-governing organs of the state. Due to the dismissal of the oil code regulating also the regional distribution of budget, needed foreign investments are postponed each time. Though it is proved that Iraq has the third largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia and Canada, its ability to produce and export the oil will stay limited in the next ten years. Therefore, the possibility of using the revenues to be made from oil production for public welfare will remain low for the case of Iraq.


All ethnic groups and sects brought about numerous armed militias suffering from both intra-factional and inter-factional contradictions and fighting as a result of the general fragmentation in Iraq. Despite critical steps taken for the integration of these militias into legal security forces, there are continuing incidents meaning that safety measures do not suffice. Controlling the entire Iraq seems an arduous task positive outcomes of which can only be reached in the long term with current structure of security forces. National peace is promising largely if endeavors last until militias are disarmed and integrated into society, which cannot be accomplished overnight. Therefore, under these circumstances, potential developments in northern Iraq might be listed as below. 


• Along with the Regional Kurdish Administration, Barzani and Talabani who have the power to shape national policies in Iraq will reinforce the local institutionalization as they consolidate their stance to the extent that internal and external conditions permit. They will persist in implementing projects for the welfare of their people and upgrading the regional administrative capacity even though tensions over Kirkuk are still on the scene.


• Expansion of regional boundaries and heading toward self-determination are likely steps to be taken by Kurdish administration if the central government loses its control over the country or the Constitution in effect is proved abortive. The probability of a civil war out of an escalation of the Shiite-Sunni clash also might generate such motives for the Kurds in northern Iraq. 

• They in connection with the policies pursued by Ankara may seek further assistance and confidence from Turkey.


In this context, the challenge Turkey is expected to face is whether these –seemingly durable and threatening in perception- potential developments in northern Iraq can be turned into opportunities for the unity and well-being of our public. Within such framework there are several preventive measures of and perspectives on dealing with the issue. 


Possible Provisions for Iraq  
• Ascertaining the common ground of benefits shared with regional and global actors particularly the US. Demarcating clearly the line between mutual interests and opposing views vis-à-vis these states and adopting policies in this way.


• Improving economic, cultural, and social relations with the Regional Kurdish Administration through building a sturdy infrastructure for bilateral interactions. For influencing and monitoring the happenings from inside, opening a consulate in Irbil without delay.


• Avoiding racist speeches when the Regional Administration and its officials are addressed and choosing policy options meticulously not to foment Kurdish nationalism. 


• Obscuring covert actions professionally and abstaining from demonstration of power upon these actions.


• Having a new approach for Turkmens so that they are not divided in themselves and assessing dangers that may arise out of their militancy. Assuring Turkey’s oblique responsibility of protecting Turkmens and of maintenance their security to Baghdad and Irbil.  


• For Turkey to stand at the bridgehead in this many-sided struggle of significant interests, enriching state apparatuses such as intelligence activities with adequate material supplies and systems.


Possible Provisions at Homeland 
• Beside the armed struggle, to disconnect terrorists from people in the southeast of Turkey preparing a number of precautionary measures for disarming the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) militants during the course of truces to be agreed on and integrating them into society.


• Taking extensive provisions for the disengagement process of civil society from terror. Dealing with inhabitants of the area in a compassionate fashion and averting tension, factionalism and clamor which incite hatred and thus lead to the terror in the region. 


• Developing education and health systems and the rule of law pursuant to harmonization packages with the EU to gain the confidence of citizens countrywide. Improving living standards of the people in the region.


• For a lasting solution; reading the direction, quality and degree of the socio-cultural change occurring in the area and controlling the change by socio- cultural integration projects to encourage the sense of belonging and citizenship of inhabitants of the region. Formulating discourses and policies for the purpose of consolidating national cohesion. 


• Fostering intergovernmental organizations along with state institutions to contribute to the rehabilitation of the area.


• Creating an entity -with a semi-independent functioning and subject to scrutiny by PM- for orchestration and synchronization of precautions to be taken in economic, political, diplomatic, educational, and socio-cultural spheres. Bringing representatives of armed forces and ministries, agents of civil society, and scientists together in that entity. 


• In order to weaken the impact of PKK’s delusive propagandas; providing the region with educational facilities and developing strategies to dissuade each individual especially youngsters from joining the terrorists; increasing democratic freedoms of basic rights; preventing poverty and sustaining minimum living conditions by expanding employment and energizing regional economy; enlightening the representatives of media so that they inform inhabitants of the area about positive developments in the region and do not be the tools of inadvertent propagation of PKK’s actions.


• For the achievement of these goals, gaining the support of the EU states is vital since the PKK has been backed by its establishments in several member countries rather than northern Iraq. The dissolution of PKK’s establishments causing public security challenges (drug-dealing, underground organizations, illegal immigration, organized crime, etc.) in those countries should be defined as common benefits shared by the member states. Such cooperation may also be smoothed placing the joint actions of security forces under same legal principles.


In devising all of these preventive measures, the core objective is to marginalize the terror to the greatest extent. These measures must be applied promptly instead of using the illusory discourse that “terror to be uprooted” as a pretext for the suspension of necessary precautions. Therefore, keeping the terror down to a bearable level and strengthening the sense of belonging and citizenship of the people living in the southeast Anatolia by increasing their welfare and economic prosperity should be priorities of Turkey.


It is known that the regime dominated by the two leaders in northern Iraq is not a democratic one as public and private lives remain under the influence of tribal order rather than a Western constitutional system and rule of law. With increasingly effective practices of the EU legal norms and assurance of individual rights and liberties in every region of our country, incongruity of circumstances in northern Iraq may turn into an advantage for Turkey. Magnifying further the disparity between the living conditions in northern Iraq and in Turkey and utilization of the difference will consolidate sense of citizenship among the inhabitants of southeast region as well as their attachment to the state.


2. Strategy Development for the Struggle with Terrorism  
Terrorism persists as a primary security question of Ankara and the incidents in Turkey’s neighborhoods herald that it will probably pose challenges for a long time. The prolonged struggle against PKK together with developments following the US intervention in Iraq precipitated a kind of sociological transformation in the minds of the people living in the southeast Anatolia. As a result, a small number of people have been confused in the region though most of the inhabitants are in favor of togetherness and the unity of state.


In the struggle with terror, the military force-dominated strategy that has been devoid of socio-economic, socio-cultural, and psycho-social dimensions fell short of expected level of success. Despite numerous casualties, expenditure of resources worth billions of dollars, tactical achievements during operations, and the isolation of PKK in certain periods, insufficiency of the strategy could not be recovered. Hence, the strategy applied so far ought to be re-devised in line with the notion of fighting not against the terrorists but the terrorism itself. The new stratagem should rest upon the approach assuming an integrated and a coordinated usage of the aforementioned facilities (economic, socio-cultural, educational, psychological, diplomatic, etc.) not neglecting the security aspect.


As basics of the strategy in the struggle against terror it is Turkey’s duty to entrench its democracy in political harmony, to fulfill the rule of law completely, to promote and to practice universal values in the field of human rights, to regard religious, linguistic, and cultural diversities as sources of richness ensuring free exercise of these differences. For implementation of the new strategy, Turkey had better embrace dissimilarities as a requirement of togetherness, eliminate regional disparities in the course of economic development, provide its people with satisfactory living conditions pursuant to the principle of social state and create equal opportunities for educational, political, and economic enterprises. The strategy ought to be able to boost the sense of belonging of all nationals irrespective of distinctive identities (religious, sectarian, and ethnic) and to achieve cooperation and solidarity among the citizens in an atmosphere of tolerance.


Considering international dimensions of fighting against terror, any kind of support (political, financial, training, weapons, and explosives) PKK finds from abroad must be hindered for an absolute isolation of the organization. To attain this goal, there appears the need for intensifying diplomatic initiatives and being active on international platforms.


The security and operational aspects of the struggle with terror should be carried out by professional groups specialized to fight terrorism rather than regular troops of the army.


Formation of an organization of commandos, gendarmes, police officers adapted to living and fighting in the conditions of terrorists is essential for an actual combat unit to take part in the battle against terror. In need of ground and aerial operations, deterrence or under similar circumstances, the elements apart from the Gendarmerie, and the units of commandos and helicopters in the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) might be utilized temporarily.


Fight against terrorism can be counted in the domains of not a few ministries if its international relations and security dimensions as well as socio-economic, socio-cultural and psycho-social aspects are taken into account. Therefore, for an execution of war on terror which is both coordinated and influential, the task must remain under the authority of PM.


A government body directly headed by PM like a “High Council of War on Terror” will harmonize ministerial liabilities and maintain cooperation between intelligence agencies and security forces coordinating their functions.

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