Worst of all, even though security agencies had accidently noticed that the PKK was deploying heavy artillery to hilltops to attack major strategic targets and the military was waging a frontier battle to get rid of those heavy weapons, the PKK was able to hit a nearby military outpost. It indicates that there was no intelligence gathered beforehand for conducting the operations.
The question that we need to ask is the following: A year ago, Turkey was “negotiating” with the PKK and political leaders were arguing that Turkey was close to peace. So how did we end up here?
The easy answer to this question is that the PKK did not want to negotiate for peace while the Arab Spring was looming and instead resumed terror attacks on July 14, 2011. By resuming terror attacks the PKK hoped that it would gain more than what could be gained through peace negotiations. In fact it is true that the PKK hoped to gain more political leverage and resumed the fight.
But the question that we are facing is not that simple. Our problem is deeper than the PKK’s terror attacks.
First, imagine that a parliament in a country dealing with terror never formed a joint committee to investigate what went wrong and where mistakes were made. In the last 30 years Turkey has been fighting against the PKK and there has been no committee formed in Parliament to question how to handle the PKK problem and why we make the same mistakes over and over again.
But in America, for instance, when 9/11 happened, the very first idea that the government had was to form a bipartisan commission to investigate the incident and recommend what to do. Whether the findings of 9/11 commission were useful or not is a different subject, but it was the right step for a democratic country to investigate. In fact after the commission released its report, American bureaucracy was reorganized to deal with terror problems and so far they have been successful at preventing terror attacks on mainland America.
Second, during the negotiation period with the PKK the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) unfortunately trusted the PKK leaders more than they trusted police or military in terms of gathering information. For instance, there were many suggestions made that the PKK is preparing a parallel state formation in the Southeast to strengthen its ties with the public and it would be very difficult to remove this network once it were fully established. Therefore, the police proposed conducting operations against the KCK network back in 2007; however, state officials, at the suggestion of MİT, vetoed these operations against the KCK network. The reason why MİT did not want police to conduct the operations was because they truly trusted PKK leaders and thought that the PKK was sincere about the peace negotiations.
Still worse, MİT was so blind to the PKK’s aims that MİT leaders not only ignored the suggestions that were skeptical of the PKK, they did not even listen to what the PKK leaders at the very same table were saying. For instance Mustafa Karasu, a PKK leader and one of the team members who came to Oslo to meet with MİT leaders to negotiate openly wrote that in the fourth strategic struggle period, the PKK is preparing to resume a major fight to win big and produce results. Further, during the negotiations one MİT member even complained to Karasu that MİT knew the PKK was deploying bombs to major metropolitan city centers.
Imagine Turkey’s national security agency negotiating with the PKK while the PKK is deploying weapons to these city centers. In addition, MİT’s deputy head is complaining to the PKK leader about the PKK’s attitude but still continuing to negotiate with the PKK at the same time.
Doesn’t it take at least a genuine spirit of honesty to begin any negotiations? Why didn’t MİT leaders ask: “What kind of contradiction is it that while negotiating with us here in Oslo your militants are preparing weapons and transferring bombs in big cities to prepare for a bigger fight? Why don’t you stop transferring bombs first and come to the table second if you are serious about peace?”
As I pointed out, Turkey’s problem is not a terror problem. It is a problem of mentality in which the government agencies do not know what to do. They don’t have any strategy to follow. Turkey does not have any parliamentary committee to investigate the wrongdoings so that next time same old mistakes will not be made.
With this mentality I am afraid Turkey will continue to face acts of terror and not be able to solve this problem without help from outside…