The crisis between the Turkish army and the Kurdish rebels of the PKK seems to be mitigated thanks to the offers guaranteed to Turkey on behalf of the United States and Iraq, but the chaos that devastated the latter, predicts that the conflict will continue in the short term, and possibly the long term as well. Turkey has emerged victorious from its first incursion but the future is no more flattering for its interests. A large part of the solution the crisis is thanks to the United States.


(From Istanbul) ONLY IF THE THREAT IS CREDIBLE will the threatened bear it in mind. Turkey, with its warning of launching a military operation across the border into the northern part of Iraq, has obtained what it was searching for since the beginning of the year: to call attention to Washington and Baghdad to enact their explicit promise that they would fight against the terrorist group the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK), with urgent, effective, and concrete measures.

“The solution of the crisis occurred because the United States and Iraq acted against the PKK”

The employment of coercive diplomacy in its last stage on behalf of Ankara, the deployment of roughly 150,000 soldiers in its shared border with Iraq, and the commencement of precise offensive military actions in its territory as well as in the neighbouring country- have only begun to bear fruit when the United States desired a solution to the crisis.

The visit to Turkey of the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, to assist in the Second Extended Summit of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Neighboring Countries of Iraq which was held in the opening days of November in Istanbul. The subsequent meeting in the White House between the US President, George W. Bush, and the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which had the aim of calming the aggressive intentions of the Euroasiatic country, which had decided to attack the close to 4,000 PKK militants who were camped near Turkey´s borders in the northern reaches of Iraq.


The present situation of maximum tension arrived due to the escalation of violence of the Kurdish insurgents, whose attacks claimed the lives of 50 soldiers and civilians in less than a week, but also because the Turkish army did not intimidate them, despite whom they accumulated troops and equipment in the east of the peninsula of Anatolia. The area, one of Kurdish majority and the most economically backward of Turkey, has been converted into a veritable war zone since October, the same week when a parliamentary motion was passed giving a green light to the aforementioned cross-border operation.

“The moderate Islamist government of Erdogan continues to appear dissatisfied before international public opinion and remains open to possibility armed conflict”

The end of the crisis, which as of today still has not been completely resolved, occurred because the United States and Iraq offered minimum guarantees to Turkey that they will act against the PKK, the first as a powerful occupant de facto of the Arab country, and the second as a sovereign nation which gives shelter to the terrorist group. This occurred in the Instanbul Summit. There, Rice promised that Washington will increase the amount intelligence that it supplies to Ankara, whilst the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al Maliki, submitted a packet of drastic measures against the PKK. Amongst which include the persecution and detention of Kurdish rebels, the elimination of the PKK´s logical support systems, the closing of its centers of operation in the Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as the prohibition of the establishment of new control points near the Turkish border.

Turkey no doubt celebrated the decisions announced by Rice and Al Maliki, many of which were implemented in practically record time. Without a doubt, they did not completely fulfil its desires; however, Ankara´s strategy of putting pressure on Iraq is a long term one. In this way, the moderate Islamist government of Erdogan continues to be dissatisfied before public international opinion, and it remains open to the possibility of armed conflict. This is precisely consistent with coercive diplomacy.


Turkey has emerged victorious from its first incursion, but the truth is that the future is no more flattering for its interests. The winter has already arrived in the mountains that geographically separate Turkey from Iraq and with the winter season comes the dilution of the possibility of executing a cross-border military operation with minimum guarantees of success. “The bombardments of the Euro Asiatic giant will help to do nothing more than intensify the hatred of the radical Kurdish independents” Further more, the Arab country continues to be immersed in a chaotic situation which has no end in sight, because Turkey´s power to control the PKK is greatly reduced due to the season.

In this way, a large part of the solution of the crisis rests on the United States. Nevertheless, for fear of losing a strategic alliance in the region, Washington must be able to turn a blind eye to the surgical operations of the Turkish Army in the Northern reaches of Iraq, because on the other hand, these operations have been being launched for over 20 years. For this, all indications are that the problem will persist in both the short and the medium term. The bombardments of the Euro Asiatic giant will help to do nothing more than intensify the hatred of the radical Kurdish independents, and with it, their capacity to obtain new recruits among a population with little or nothing to lose.