Last week, six innocent people were killed and 81 others were wounded during a terrorist attack (a bomb explosion) at the heart of Istanbul, on Istiklal (Freedom) Street. Although there was no claim of responsibility, the woman, who is suspected to be behind the bombing, was captured by the Turkish police in several hours. The suspect later confessed that she planted the bomb in line with the instructions of the PKK terrorist organization’s Syrian wing, YPG. Consequently, Turkish security forces captured 20 other culprits, who are also affiliated with the terrorist group.
Türkiye has launched a large military operation and hit targets in northern parts of Syria and Iraq, the regions which are used as bases for attacks on the country, in order to punish those behind the bomb blast at Istiklal Street. Although the military operation was mainly a reaction to the Istiklal blast, the impact of the operation goes beyond the latest attack. With the military operation, Türkiye has sent clear messages to different regional and global actors.
First, Türkiye has sent a message to its own people. The Turkish officials have promised the Turkish people that all perpetrators behind the attack will be punished and no terrorist attack will remain unanswered. The Turkish state has shown its determination in its struggle against any threat targeting Türkiye’s political independence and territorial integrity.
Türkiye, which has the power to defend its territory against any threat, has shown its determination for maintaining the political stability of the state and the security of its people.
Message to those who back terror
Second, the operation is a message to the terrorist organizations attacking Türkiye. Türkiye has the capacity, power, and resources to fight terrorism by solely depending on its weapons and own intelligence. Türkiye has shown that it has the power to crush any organization at its hotbed and the cost of attacking Türkiye is very high. Thus, it has showed that it has deterrent power against all internal and external military actors. Türkiye can easily mobilize enough military resources for its fight against security threats, and therefore it can crush any security threat inside or outside of the country.
Third, Türkiye has sent a clear message to the backers of terrorist groups that it is determined it will not allow any anti-Turkish projection or development. Türkiye will continue to play a game-changer role in its regions against all proxies and their supporters. Since there is too much at stake for Türkiye, it will not remain indifferent to any fait accompli that will create security concerns. The Turkish state and its people know very well that many Western countries, including its allies, have been providing different types of support to PKK/YPG and Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) terrorists in their lands.
Fourth, Türkiye has insistently pointed out that it will continue to launch military operations against any security threat in line with the right of self-defense arising from Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which entitles any state to defend itself against any military attack or imminent threat. Therefore, neither Iraq nor Syria, who remained silent after the latest military operation, try to prevent Türkiye from cross-border military operations. Türkiye has compelling reasons for its self-defense military operations. Unlike many other countries, it does not act unilaterally.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan clearly explained that “if someone disturbs our country and lands, we will make them pay the price,” adding that “Türkiye’s answer will not be limited to just an air operation.”
Depending on future developments, Türkiye may launch a new large-scale ground military campaign against the territories currently under the control of PKK/YPG terrorists.