In the second half of March, the collaborator ruling classes of Turkey launched a large scale attack on Iraq-Kurdistan. According to official statements, this attack aimed “to eradicate the PKK in this region”. Turkish troops would withdraw “when this mission was completed”. However, as evidenced by these vague statements, the authorities have been making contradictory announcements about the duration of the presence of Turkish troops in this region. The spokespersons and defenders of the dictatorship are also calling for the “power vacuum” in the region to be filled by Turkey. All Establishment parties, from the most reactionary to the social democrats, have the same view on this matter. However, close examination of the regime’s justifications reveals more. The fact is that the aim of this attack is not limited to extermination of the PKK but directly linked to US imperialism’s policy in the Middle-East.
For example, it was claimed that the attack was “exclusively in the form of a raid”. However, the fact is that everybody was aware of the military deployment on the frontier which began many days before the attack. Thus, it was not a “surprise raid”, the most effective form of counter-insurgency military action. More elaborate and drawn out operation enable the guerrillas to re-position themselves and to disperse into the field in small groups. In fact, two days before the attack, a PKK radio broadcast in that area speculated about a possible operation by the Turkish army and announced that the organisation would withdraw into “inner regions”. Even if some PKK forces could not withdraw from this region, there is no reason to suppose that these remaining forces would be “eliminated totally”. Similar operations have been taking place in Turkey-Kurdistan for years. Their results are well-known. The PKK continues to exist and fight. Also, the effectiveness of PKK does not depend on its military capacity or skill but on the policies it pursues. PKK’s dilemmas are fundamentally a result of these policies.
Undoubtedly, the reactionary forces of Turkey did not decide on this latest attack themselves, as was claimed. However, it certainly represented a great opportunity for the ruling classes to launch this operation immediately after the explosion of accumulated anger of the labouring people in the Gazi district of Istanbul against fascist massacres. Reactionary forces attempted to cover up internal problems through this military operation. No matter how well it is concealed, the truth is that in reality US imperialism planned and directed this occupation. US imperialism obviously now gives a greater role to the Turkish ruling classes in the Middle-East. Through this operation, the reactionary forces of Turkey are getting ready to be one of the most important “cat’s paws” of US imperialism in this region. This operation has also provided an answer to the debates around the need for “a more mobile army with a high striking power” and on “taking part in the imperialist operations in the region”. These questions have been on the agenda for some time. In other words, the ruling classes are practising for their expansion in the region. That is why this operation seemed a sort of military “manoeuvre”.
However, this situation has dragged Turkey further into the quagmire of the Middle-East. The ruling classes of Turkey are becoming more and more embroiled in the unresolvable problems of this region. They also tie their country’s integrity to the unpredictable outcome of imperialist power relations and contradictory interests.
The ruling classes of Turkey have two options. They can maintain a presence in Iraq-Kurdistan or they can form a “buffer zone”. They want to annex this region. Undoubtedly, the final decision on this matter will be taken by US imperialism. The nature of this decision will obviously be determined by the inter-imperialist balance of power, the position of regional reactionary forces and finally by the response of the peoples. However, neither the withdrawal of troops, nor the forming of a “buffer zone” will imply a change in US plans to use the reactionary forces of Turkey to further control the Middle-East. Nor will it change the position of Turkey in this region. Whatever the decision, the reactionary forces of Turkey will sink further into the quick sands of the Middle-East.
There is another aspect to this question, even though it is not the main motivation for this ‘operation’. By playing the ‘Turkish card’ US imperialism is in a sense warning the forces of Barzani and Talabani to get into line, in particular behind Barzani. It is declaring that it will not allow its imperialist interests to be endangered. US imperialism seeks a certain “stability” in its servants. It does not disregard Barzani and Talabani. However, it is constantly evaluating the huge gap between the scope of imperialist regional aims and the present low level of these reactionaries. Allocating an ‘older brother’ to control them is possible. However, this ‘older brother’ himself has historical ambitions in this region, even though for the time being he cannot openly declare these ambitions or do anything about them.
The occupation underlines the fact that the policy of “political solution” and of relying on “imperialist diplomacy” favoured by PKK has fallen flat. The mealy-mouthed reactions of imperialist forces to the occupation express this fact. Almost all imperialist governments have declared that Turkey had the right to fight “terrorism” in this way. They simply expressed their “anxiety” about the duration of Turkey’s presence in the region and manoeuvred to show off their ‘democratic’ credentials.
Once again, it has been proved that Kurdish workers and labourers gain nothing from the policy of compromising or negotiating with imperialism. Their interests lie in the struggle against imperialism and the dictatorship alongside Turkish workers and labourers.