Journalist Nihat Kaya has shared his thoughts on Turkey’s Garê offensive and the latest developments in the Middle East.
Turkey’s cross-border military operation in Iraq’s Garê region is still a subject of debate, after 13 Turkish prisoners, most of whom had been held by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for years, were announced killed following the operation.
While the Turkish authorities said the operation was ”successful”, Turkey’s opposition parties have said the operation was a “failed rescue”. Although the Turkish government claimed it was a “rescue operation”, the PKK stated that it was never about the rescue of the prisoners, but the aim was to destroy the PKK headquarters.
‘Operation Garê is a failure’
Talking to the Mesopotamia Agency, Nihat Kaya pointed out that the operation in Garê was “a failure in a military and political sense” for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). “The operation was about domestic politics. In times when the opposition against the AKP increases, its main tactic is to disperse the internal opposition. The government follows the tactic of creating a perception of a threat from the outside, forcing the society to come together within itself, and silencing the opposition”.
Kaya added, “Just as during the attacks in Afrin, Libya and the Karabakh period, the government did the same in the attacks in Tell Abyad [Girê Spî] and Ras al-Ayn [Serekaniye]”.
‘Garê aimed at creating an heroic epic’
Kaya believes that the Turkish government chose Garê as the new target of a military operation for a reason. “Why was it Garê instead of North and East Syrian cities or Sinjar? Because Garê is a place where the international reaction would be quietest”, he said.
Arguing that the style of the operation style was similar to the US operation against ISIS leader Ebubekir al-Baghdadi, Kaya said, “Garê aimed at creating an heroic epic. If there was really an intention to save the prisoners, such an operation would not have been conducted. It was to silence the domestic opposition by creating more heroic soldiers.”
Impacts across the region
Stressing that the AKP wants to create a similar situation as if it has achieved a “victory” in Syria, Libya and Karabakh, Kaya underlined that the Turkish government has used similar operations to shift the balance of power in the region.
“The Kurdistan Democratic Party’s step back indicates that there has been a change in the balance of power across the Middle East”, said Kaya. “The Iraqi central government ignored the operation because of its own internal problems. Some groups within the Kurdistan Democratic Party remained silent after the operation despite their support for the operation”.
Turkey’s offensive, especially in Armenia, Libya, the Mediterranean and Syria, have created a fear of Turkey, said Kaya, “but Garê changed this psychology of fear. It was seen that Turkey can be defeated. It has led to the development of attitudes both in terms of international powers and peoples in the region. The Arab community also opposed this operation”.
Kaya noted that Turkey is now isolated in the region and they may want to save their image with another operation. “The AKP will want to compensate for this, attacking a different place to achieve a cheap ‘victory’ in the hope that Garê will be forgotten”, he said.