With the election victory in the bag the Turkish government led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has started to step up its campaign against all terrorist elements threatening Turkey as it steps up military operations in Northern Iraq and Syria.
At home a massive military operation in the southeastern border province of Hakkari has dealt a blow to the PKK as military units cleared the separatist terrorists from the mountains and passage ways to Northern Iraq where the militants are holed up in the Qandil Mountains.
Now Turkey is turning its attention to the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Turkish officials have repeatedly stated Turkish forces will step up their military operations against the terrorists in northern Syria who are threatening our country.
The first signs came from Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu, who stated in the Northern Iraqi city of Irbil that Turkey would soon launch more attacks against ISIS in northern Syria. There were speculations that Turkey would send ground troops against ISIS. The speculations were baseless as Turkey had no intention of sending its troops into Syria and thus falling into a swamp from which it could never pull itself out again. Turkey feels it can be a part of an international effort that includes a land operation to clear away ISIS from the northern parts of Syria and create a special security zone where Syrians fleeing the war can be housed in safety.
Turkey in coordination with the United States will step up aerial attacks against ISIS and will also eye the developments in Northern Iraq and if necessary hit ISIS there as well. Turkey will continue hitting the PKK in Northern Iraq and if necessary help the Barzani administration clear away PKK elements who have started to creep into various places in Northern Iraq with the pretext of helping out the peshmerga forces of Barzani against ISIS.The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has used its armed militants from the PKK to dominate Syrian Kurds by force, has been trying to use the pretext of fighting ISIS to expand its territorial advantages and grab lands
toward the Mediterranean from Arabs and Turkmens. Turkey has given signals that it will not tolerate such actions. Attempts by the forces of the PYD to move into lands that were vacated by ISIS after massive bombing by U.S. jets operating out of Turkey has been halted by Turkish jet fighters on three occasions. The message is clear. Turkey will hit ISIS, the PKK as well as the PYD when its interests are violated.The U.S. has been bringing in new modern U.S. fighters to counter the Russian military presence in Syria. Meanwhile, Turkey seems to have secured a tacit agreement with the U.S. that it can hit the PYD in Syria if Syrian Kurds try to exploit the volatile security situation against the interests of Ankara. Thus the PYD, which was used as a ground force against ISIS, now understands the limits of U.S. support it can enjoy and where the support ends.
The successes inside Turkey against PKK terrorist bases in the rugged mountains of eastern and southeastern Turkey, the high morale of the government after the Nov. 1 landslide elections victory have all contributed to Ankara once again strengthening its self-confidence and concentrating with resolve on the fight against the PKK, PYD and ISIS.
Once again Turkey is displaying it is a valuable asset to its friends and a formidable enemy for its adversaries.