In the past year, Turkey has put up a relentless fight against PKK terrorists who have been waging a secessionist war for the past three-and-a-half decades.
The United States and other Western countries have dragged their feet in the past decades to earnestly help Turkey to finish off the PKK. They either withheld some vital intelligence information from Turkey, denied certain arms that could have helped Turkish forces put up a more effective struggle against the terrorists or, last but not least, at times even provided covert assistance to the PKK.
That Turkey now has its own intelligence assets and high technology to monitor PKK activities and has its own domestically made arms to inflict mortal strikes on the PKK has bolstered Ankara's fight against the secessionists.
It also became apparent that Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) members embedded in the military and police force before the coup attempt of July 15, 2016, were in fact cooperating with the PKK and thus stalling the effective fight against the terrorists. The fact that they were weeded out after the coup has increased the effectiveness of the struggle by the military and the police against the PKK, particularly inside Turkey.
In the past year, Turkish forces have managed to discover PKK hideouts and caves where they stashed arms and ammunition as well as medical and food supplies. Security forces also used domestically produced armed and unarmed, unmanned aerial vehicles to discover the whereabouts of terrorists and then destroy them effectively, turning technology into a nightmare for the PKK. PKK casualties are now counted in the thousands for the year.
PKK terrorist activities started falling apart in Turkey, but so far there was something missing – to destroy the head of the snake holed up in northern Iraq.
In the 1990s, Turkey and the forces of Masoud Barzani, now the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, launched 26 military operations into the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq, but failed to dislodge the PKK bases there.
Qandil has housed the PKK's headquarters and terrorist chieftains since then. Terrorists are being trained there and then sent into Turkey to kill. The Zap and Avashin areas are the gates to Qandil in Iraq. Terrorists are trained there in masses. They hide in the rough terrain of the Qandil Mountains to avoid being detected.
Now that security forces have proven efficient and successful, Turkey has turned its attention to finish off the PKK presence just across its borders in northern Iraq. Iraqi government forces while pushing the PKK terrorists out of Sinjar, Mahmour and Kirkuk, have also opened the door for Turkey to launch security operations to sweep away the PKK across the border in the Zap and Avashin areas. These have been the launching areas for PKK terrorist actions inside Turkey.
As President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared to those who pose a threat to Turkey: "We will hit you suddenly one night;" that is exactly what Turkey is doing in Zap and Avashin. Turkish troops have entered northern Iraq according to international rules of hot pursuit, and they are bashing the PKK. So far, 40 PKK terrorists have been killed. Turkey has also suffered four casualties, two killed by land mines. Is it not sad that the U.S. apparently has a map of the mines that the PKK has planted in the area and has not shared it with Turkey? Is it not sad that the Barzani administration failed to deal with these people and now we have to do the job?
Turkey is showing to friend and foe alike that it will not tolerate any threat on its borders, especially in northern Iraq and northern Syria.