"We are maintaining our patience because of our respect for Ramadan. But, everyone should know that the beginning of peace will be more different after this month of peace and solidarityI am saying it frankly. The cost of this will be heavy for them. Those who fail to distance themselves from the separatist terrorist organization in this country are also abetting this crime. They are also doomed to pay the price for that. "
Does this threat have any teeth? This is a time when Iran is increasing pressure on PKK’s PJAK branch and while speculations have arisen to such an extent that the Turkish state’s own news agency, Anadolu Agency, was announcing at first that PKK’s second man (Murat Karayilan) had been captured by Iranian security forces, a statement which couldn’t be confirmed by Turkish politicians. With the significance of this regional PKK-targeting game, is Turkey really willing to carry out an operation in northern Iraq?
According to Today’s Zaman, Turkey is preparing for an operation which is reportedly supported by Washington. Really?
To those who agree with Zaman's analysis, and to those who believe Erdogan's threats, I would say a few things: The Assad regime would benefit from such an operation which will not only increase the regional instability but will also contribute to the legitimization of the Assad regime’s “terrorist” hunt campaign. Secondly, any Turkish-Iranian campaign against PKK bases will automatically open a third front inside Syrian territories, boosting the level of cooperation among these three states. So, would Washington really like to see this?
On the other hand, if Ankara makes such a move towards Iraqi territories, it risks paying heavily with mass civilian casualties in big cities as militants will be forced towards inner parts of Iraq during Winter. Like those operations carried out in the last 10 years, Ankara will gain nothing strategically.
So, why do we see Erdogan speaking with this harsh tone? It is partly due to the relatively unstable political situation in Ankara where BDP and imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan have come to the same line; that there will be no progress, inside or outside the parliament, if Ocalan is not free, secure and given a leading role in any possible solution. In other words, these threats are just another unsurprising example of political rhetoric, trying to make the ‘unwanted’ the ‘other’ in the eyes of the public, which has started to blame the government for the current stalemate as new dead bodies of soldiers are coming often.
Secondly, it is beyond domestic politics. In case of Assad’s failure to listen to Ankara’s reform packages, Ankara is likely to freeze the ‘zero-problems with the Assad regime’ policy and to fill the vacuum left beyond its territories in order to both increase Turkey's bargaining power with other regional powers and Washington, and in order to prevent PKK from gaining new spheres of influence. That is why, both the domestic and international arena should get used to this kind of rhetoric while Ankara has already lost its patience with PKK.