Perspective: Understanding Turkey’s Qandil Operation

How has the PKK gained a vast territory in Iraq and Syria? What was the strategy of the PKK’s territorial gain? Is the Turkish strategy for the de-territorialization of the PKK working? What challenges will Turkey face?

Turkish counter-terrorist operations have made important progress in fighting the PKK over the last three years, while the military operations have expanded in neighboring northern Syria and Iraq where the PKK enjoyed safe havens. Turkey eliminated the PKK threat in northwest Syria with Operation Olive Branch in early 2018 and started a new operation in Iraq on March 10, 2018. Even if these two operations had different contextual characters and execution methodologies, both operations had the same strategic objective: the de-territorialization of the PKK in Syria and Iraq. Turkish authorities see that the de-territorialization strategy will cause the PKK to lose its military capacity and lead to the dissolution of the PKK’s state of consolidation on the regional, domestic and local levels. Turkey’s ongoing military operation is the most recent example of this strategy….

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