• Thursday, December 12, 2019

Police can't combat PKK in the mountains, former military chief says

Discussion in 'Turkish Defence Forum' started by silko, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. silko

    silko SENIOR MEMBER

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    Police can't combat PKK in the mountains, former military chief says


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    İlker Başbuğ, former chief of General Staff, retired last year.

    The former head of the Turkish military has said only military troops can successfully combat terrorism in rural regions of southeastern Anatolia, casting doubt on the police's ability to operate against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in difficult terrain.

    İlker Başbuğ, who retired as the chief of the General Staff last year, said the PKK was organized and trained primarily to operate in mountainous terrains. “No one can conduct an anti-terrorism fight in rural and mountainous regions except military troops. This [thinking otherwise] would be ridiculous,” Başbuğ said in an interview in Milliyet on Sunday, noting that the military is better placed to fight terrorism in rural areas because of its training, organizational structure and ability to maintain the chain of command and communication even when units are scattered in a vast region during an anti-terrorist operation.

    The former military chief's comments came in response to the government's statements that it plans to extend the duties and authority of the police in the anti-PKK fight. Police special operations teams are reportedly to be given responsibility for seeking out PKK terrorists in rural parts of the southeastern Anatolia, the hub of PKK activities, when the planned changes in the anti-terrorism strategy go into effect.



    Başbuğ opposed a police role in anti-PKK operations in rural areas, saying that replacing the troops with police teams in such territory was “not a realistic approach.”



    “We have prioritized area control as a matter of strategy since 1993. There are military posts and units deployed over vast areas to limit the movements of terrorist groups. If those areas are left unattended, this would give the terrorists a wide range in which to maneuver,” Başbuğ said. “And area control can only be done by the military.”



    The government's plans to expand the role of the police in the fight against the PKK come amid increasing criticism of the military's handling of the struggle. Last month, 13 soldiers were killed in a PKK attack in a rural area in the Silvan district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. Media reports claimed the commanders of the unit that was attacked in Silvan were responsible for security breaches, prompting the government and the military to launch separate investigations into the attack. The military admitted after its investigation that there were suspicious matters around the incident that need to be investigated by the judiciary. The government said its findings were almost identical to those of the military's investigation.

    No such thing as a ‘Kurdish issue'

    Başbuğ, who recently published a book titled “Terör Örgütlerinin Sonu” (the End of Terror Organizations), also said there was no such thing as a “Kurdish issue” in Turkey, because Turkey's citizens of Kurdish origin face no restriction in any walk of life, ranging from education to business and job opportunities.



    “The prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] also said prior to the [June 12] elections that there is no Kurdish issue in Turkey. We agree on this,” he told Milliyet.

    According to Başbuğ, the PKK is comprised of four wings: the armed wing, the Europe-based political wing, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and some like-minded civil society groups in Turkey and finally the PKK's jailed chief Abdullah Öcalan. He said success in the fight against the PKK will depend on Turkey's ability to deal with the PKK's armed wing based in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq.

    "It is impossible for the PKK to lay down arms without approval from the armed wing. The armed wing may not even heed Öcalan's calls on this. Therefore, we need to threaten the group's presence in northern Iraq in order to force the terrorist organization to lay down arms," he said.

    Police can't combat PKK in the mountains, former military chief says
     
  2. Umit

    Umit FULL MEMBER

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    We will not use standart town polices. We will use special forces "Özel Harekat" police units.

    So they will be better trained than a common soldier or commandos.

    If Ilker Basbug was knows this situation very well, why did not he do something when he was army chief?

    He always protected Ergenekon members, did not co-operated with government...

    We dont need his advices any more.
     
  3. silko

    silko SENIOR MEMBER

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    easy man, he was chief one year ago or something. the police wasnt taking part in the war against pkk then, when you mean ergenekon do you mean the latest incident?
     
  4. Zulkarneyn

    Zulkarneyn BANNED

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    We are fed enough with corrupted sick minded personalities like Ilker. Not greeding Erdogan's wife because she wears scarves tells pretty much about his views (Turkey with 99% muslims and most women weearing head scarves). Not to mention his connections with Ergenekon.

    So screw him and his corrupted ideals and ideas.
     
  5. Abu Zolfiqar

    Abu Zolfiqar Rest in Peace

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    im not used to seeing him in a civilian suit!

    looks good. he served his country well.

    the PKK terrorist problem will require a mix of immediate military action coupled by long-term political action


    Turkiye should continue to work closely with the Iranians to combat this menace. NATO and EU countries should have the courage to support Turkiye in this initiative. But unfortunately, they have not been so supportive ----due to ''political reasons''

    true victory will come when the Kurds are convinced that PKK/PJAK are not in their interests. They are enemies of Kurds and enemies of Turks.
     
  6. silko

    silko SENIOR MEMBER

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    can you give us some more info on this guy, i have very little info about him. and why he is a part of ergenekon and stuff!
     
  7. Saithan

    Saithan SENIOR MEMBER

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    Not sure he is involved in Ergenekon, but he did authorize anti-government propoganda websites.

    And I sort of agree that it's best for Turkey to cooperate more with Iran, they bomb the **** out of the PJAK.
     
  8. Saithan

    Saithan SENIOR MEMBER

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    self delete
     
  9. Saithan

    Saithan SENIOR MEMBER

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    Ever since the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government revealed that it will start a new initiative against terrorist groups using police special forces, who were trained to fight against the PKK, a new debate has opened up as to whether the police can really fight against the rural base of the PKK. Former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, in an interview with the Milliyet daily, openly shared his view, saying: “The police cannot fight the PKK because the police are trained to fight in urban areas, not deep in the mountains in harsh climates.”

    Gen. Başbuğ’s argument relies on the military strategy of “dominating the battleground,” which the military successfully implemented in the 1990s to defeat the PKK. Başbuğ argues that the military continues to employ this strategy and that without it the PKK would dominate the region. Meanwhile neo-nationalists, journalists and retired military officers are picking up this argument and pushing it further, claiming that the police cannot successfully fight the PKK because they are just not capable of it.

    When you look at the numbers, however, police special forces have successfully conducted operations against the PKK. In fact, PKK militants in the 1990s said they avoided clashes with the special forces because the special forces were able to take them down with ease.

    Despite their success against the PKK, police special forces units were dismantled in 1997 during the Feb. 28 coup because military generals at the time considered the existence of a heavily armed police unit to be an obstacle to the staging of the coup. Since then, the police special forces have only been allowed to conduct operations in city centers, where the police are responsible for safety and security.

    Gen. Başbuğ’s continuing reliance on the “dominating the battleground” strategy indicates that the military is still stuck in the 1990s, when the PKK was organizing attacks against villages and cities to suppress the military and keep them from aiding state security units. Today, however, the PKK no longer does that; instead, it uses small groups that are almost impossible to detect with large, slow military units walking in mountainous terrain.

    Today’s Turkish military also has drones that provide satellite intelligence. With new technology, state security forces could easily see the terrain and determine where PKK units are. Today we need small units that are able to take quick action to strike at PKK groups as soon as they are spotted by the drones.

    In this case, the military hierarchy slows the decision-making process because most decisions to conduct operations are made by central command units, not local outposts. The special forces, however, make their own decision once they receive the intelligence, and quickly reach the scene.

    Second, because the Turkish military is a conscripted army and citizens have begun to question the intentions of generals when they failed to conduct successful operations, in recent years generals have preferred to err on the side of not risking soldiers’ lives. Therefore, on many occasions they have turned a blind eye to PKK activities, even if they are spotted by drones. For instance, the Turkish press reported that in January 2011 a group of PKK militants were crossing the border, but the general in charge did not give the order to conduct an operation against them, perhaps because he did not want to lose his soldiers.

    Third, unfortunately, the military is exempt from civilian control. Local governors have no power to give orders to the military or to launch investigations if there is any wrongdoing in conducting military operations. The division between civilian authority and military authority disconnects on the issue of how to handle the country’s counterterrorism efforts. This disconnection precipitates further failures because there is no unity in planning and executing counterterrorism operations.

    In order to avoid such problems, I think the best solution is to use police or gendarmerie special forces, well-equipped with the latest technological tools, including helicopters, for a quick response and drones to pinpoint PKK activity in rough terrain.